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Lakers Links: Russell Westbrook saw a hand specialist, Anthony Davis says his training methods are fine

In an attempt to try to get out of his funk this season, Russell Westbrook went to great lengths away from the court while Anthony Davis credits off-court work for him avoiding serious injury.

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

For much of the season, frustration from the fans came, at least partially, because of a perceived lack of urgency from the Lakers themselves. As things were going awry, the Lakers' calmness was encouraging early in the year before becoming far more concerning as the season progressed.

But while they were putting on a face for the cameras, behind the scenes, the Lakers were searching for answers, or at least one Laker in particular.

The Lakers’ calmness may have come from a belief that, if they ever got healthy, they would find solutions. That faith remained only because of work done in the offseason by Anthony Davis this season.

Those are the main focuses of the most recent headlines and reports about the Lakers:

Russell Westbrook had his hands checked by a specialist amidst shooting woes

While Russell Westbrook struggled all season, one of the most perplexing struggles were those around the rim. Typically a reliable finisher, Westbrook’s field goal percentage around the rim dipped drastically this season, seen most often in blowing open layups and dunks.

It was such a concerning trend for Westbrook that, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, he went and saw a hand specialist during the season.

People on the team and around the league began to wonder if something was wrong with his hands or eyes. It’s not often a player makes just 65% of his dunks in a season.

Sources close to Westbrook insist he has had his hands thoroughly checked by a specialist and that the treatment he receives regularly is no different than the regular treatment he does on his ankles and knees.

Westbrook jammed the fingers on his right hand last season in Washington, but he never missed time with the injury. In 2014, he’d broken that hand and had surgery. But that was eight years and six All-Star appearances ago.

The numbers bear out the bizarre trend. Westbrook ranked in the 50th percentile among guards, per Cleaning the Glass, in accuracy around the rim, the lowest he’s ranked since his sophomore season. His 58% shooting at the rim is the lowest since his 2016-17 season.

That all came despite getting to the rim at a rate nearly unmatched in his career. On the season, 48% of his shots came at the rim, a figure he’s only once exceeded in his career. He ranked in the 96th percentile in frequency at getting to the rim.

Perhaps it was a bit of the yips. Perhaps it was a bit of Father Time catching up to him. But the answer for why Westbrook struggled so much at the rim is one without a simple answer and one that played a role in the Lakers struggles this year.

Anthony Davis says his training methods shouldn’t be questioned

One reputation that Anthony Davis hasn’t been able to shed has been that of him being injury-prone. In reality, after a fairly injury-free first season in Los Angeles, Davis has battled through a number of them in his last two seasons.

That isn’t to say much could have been done this season, for example. Having a player fall into your knee and landing on a player’s foot — the two sequences that led to his injuries this year — are unavoidable, but Davis also says his offseason training helped those injuries no be worse.

And because of that, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN, he won’t be making changes to his offseason training.

When asked if the extended offseason will allow Davis, 29, to re-evaluate his training methods in hopes of staying healthy in the future, the big man pushed back.

“No,” Davis said. “To be honest, my training methods were top tier. I can’t control stepping on someone’s foot and I can’t control someone falling into my leg. It’s not like I’m out of shape and I f---ing did some crazy s--- or it was anything I could control.”

Davis believes his approach to training has only helped him, not hurt him.

“The good thing is, what people don’t know, is that the doctors actually told me that you’re lucky. Our team doctor said if you weren’t doing the work that you were supposed to be doing this summer, both could have been worse,” Davis said.

“I could have one, f---ed up my foot way more. Or I could have torn some s--- in my knee. So it’s a positive for me, knowing that I put in a lot of work this summer and I prevented catastrophic injuries from happening to my body.

“So, people can say what they want to say, but I know what I do every summer to get ready for an 82-game season.”

Davis is as aware as anyone of the reputation he has and, while it didn’t help him this year, his training reflects that of someone trying to strengthen his body and his core to avoid the nagging injuries.

Hopefully, long-term benefits are seen and Laker fans don’t have to worry about that injury-prone label as much in the future.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.