The Los Angeles Lakers were without both LeBron James and Anthony Davis for their 128-110 loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, and could be missing both players again as they finish out their current three-game road trip against the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
During Tuesday’s game, TNT sideline reporter Chris Haynes provided the latest intel on James, Davis and Kendrick Nunn’s injuries, and in addition to his report of Nunn likely being done for the season, he also made it sound pretty unlikely that the Lakers will have either of their stars available when they begin their upcoming back-to-back in Utah.
“Sources say he (LeBron) is still expected to miss Thursday’s game in Salt Lake City. As for Anthony Davis, if there are no setbacks, sources say the target return dates are either Friday at home against New Orleans, or Sunday when Denver comes to visit.”
My @NBAonTNT Report: Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis targeting a return Friday, star LeBron James anticipated to miss Thursday in SLC and Kendrick Nunn expected to be shelved for remainder of season. pic.twitter.com/UuZSXPlWT9— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 30, 2022
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said during his pregame media availability on Tuesday that the Lakers knew both James and Davis would likely miss the game against the Mavs ahead of time, but were simply listing them as doubtful to allow for the possibility of “a change of heart or a dramatic improvement in their injuries.” Those prayers were not answered, and so the two didn’t play.
Vogel wasn’t sure if either would be available for game against Utah.
“We’ll see where those guys are at on Thursday and make that call then,” Vogel said.
James and Davis were both listed as “doubtful” on the injury report heading into Tuesday’s contest, James with a sprained left ankle, and Davis with the right mid-foot sprain that has sidelined him since February. The team will send out an updated report for Thursday’s game on Wednesday.
Frank Vogel calls the injury to LeBron James "the latest and maybe biggest blow to our psyche," which doesn't exactly hint at an imminent return.— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 29, 2022
Tuesday was the 38th missed game for Davis, meaning that 75 games in, he has officially missed more games than he has played (37) this season. For James, it was his 20th missed game so far with a variety of different injuries and issues, and his first absence with this specific ankle sprain that he sustained on Sunday.
For as long as both James and Davis are out, the Lakers will be extremely shorthanded in the frontcourt, with Dwight Howard and two-way player Wenyen Gabriel — the latter of whom sprained his ankle against their Mavs and is also day-to-day now — as their only center options, and Carmelo Anthony and Stanley Johnson as their only real forward-sized players.
These absences couldn’t come at a worse time for the Lakers (31-44), as a loss in Dallas saw them fall out of play-in game range entirely, as the Spurs (31-44) have taken sole possession of 10th place in the Western Conference by virtue of owning all the relevant tiebreakers. San Antonio also has an easier schedule down the stretch.
The Lakers and Jazz will tip off on Thursday at 7 p.m. PT.