The Lakers got some good injury news at practice Saturday, a rarity in what has been a snake-bitten start to the season, particularly for thumbs.
First and foremost, Anthony Davis — who suffered a scary fall on Thursday against the Clippers and had already been dealing with back tightness in preseason — appeared to be a normal participant in practice. Dave McMenamin of ESPN noted that Davis did extra shooting after practice and also threw down a two-handed dunk, a good sign for the Lakers center’s mobility.
Anthony Davis is participating in practice and just threw down a two-handed dunk after extra shooting. He appears OK after that spill versus the Clippers.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 22, 2022
It goes without saying that the Lakers’ fortunes this season rise and fall with Anthony Davis, so his availability is of utmost importance for the team as it seeks to capture its first win of the year. Being probable for Sunday’s matchup against Portland is a big win, especially since Davis’ default status on the injury report is usually “probable”, anyway.
Another good sign for the Lakers is the potential return of Troy Brown Jr., who has yet to suit up for the team since signing as a free agent during the offseason. Brown was also dealing with a back injury during training camp, one that caused him to miss all of preseason and the first two games of the season thus far.
Brown’s injury timeline originally had him returning in a few weeks, but Darvin Ham said that Brown was progressing well, and he has now been upgraded to probable as well for Sunday’s game. Brown was recruited to the Lakers as a nominal 3-and-D player, and though the Lakers have functioned fairly well on the defensive end without him, they could certainly use the 3 part. He shot 35 percent from three last season, which would have been league average last year but a dramatic improvement for a Lakers squad that is currently canning 22 percent of its triples.
As the Lakers continue to build chemistry, it certainly helps to have more of their rotation intact. The Lakers have reportedly worked out another wing recently; perhaps Brown’s return could obviate the need for a roster change this early in the season.