According to multiple reports from media on the ground in Las Vegas, the absence was just “precautionary.”
Update: Anthony Davis won’t play tonight due to the low back tightness that had him on the injury report prior to the first preseason game. Team says it’s precautionary; they don’t want to push it for a preseason game.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 6, 2022
Anthony Davis will not play tonight against the Suns. The Lakers describe it as "precautionary." He's still dealing with low back tightness and the team doesn't want to push it.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 6, 2022
Anthony Davis is a late scratch for tonight because of tightness in his lower back, per the Lakers. They are resting him out of an abundance of concern, with the team having three games in four days.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 6, 2022
Wenyen Gabriel got the start in Davis’ place.
This is obviously not ideal, but based on the tone and tenor of the tweets here, it also doesn’t sound like it’s time to panic about Davis’ durability for this season, either. Teams will rest players for literally anything during the preseason since the games don’t count, and the Lakers training staff likely just don’t want to take even a small risk of Davis’ soreness worsening due to playing in this meaningless contest. Davis has said this summer featured the best training he’s done in his career, and if that’s true, then maybe this is just a small road bump.
Still, because Davis has been limited to just 76 games in the last two seasons combined, his absence this early will surely set off alarm bells for some, and that’s fair. Until Davis proves his health can be relied upon, there are going to be questions about it. That’s just the nature of professional sports. But if this really is just precautionary, and if Davis can be as durable as he hopes to be this season, than this moment will hopefully be remembered as just a footnote to the story of AD’s 2022-23 season, and not as a sad harbinger of more missed games to come. Given that Davis has admitted injuries got in his head a lot last season, the Lakers and their fans will just hope this isn’t the latest mental setback for a player who has had a rough two years since helping raise the franchise’s 17th banner in 2020.