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LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both ‘sore,’ but hopeful to play vs. Nuggets

LeBron James and Anthony Davis gave an update on their health after their returns against the Pelicans, and while both were experiencing some discomfort, they both clearly want to play when the Lakers take on the Nuggets.

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New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers’ season is on the precipice of being over after their disastrous loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night in LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ returns to the lineup. But the team still has five more games on the schedule, so despite both admitting that they are experiencing some soreness, the two stars say they want to keep pushing as they try to drive their team towards an improbable play-in berth.

“For me personally it’s to just start working on this ankle, obviously,” James said when asked about his mindset with his ankle sprain over the day before the team’s next matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon. “It’s pretty sore right now... Hopefully it reacts the proper way for me in the morning when I wake up and I have no setbacks, so for me that’s the most important thing.”

Davis also said that his own mid-foot sprain was “a little sore” for the final four minutes of the game, a period he called “a struggle” after feeling OK for most of the rest of the evening.

“Until that point I felt really good,” Davis said. “We know the situation that we’re in, and even though (there is) soreness in the foot, soreness in LB’s ankle, we felt like this was a game we had to play, and obviously the next five games as well, we just try to control what we can control. Our mindset is to go 5-0 in these games and let the chips fall where they may.”

Not surprisingly, the Lakers are listing both players as questionable to play against Denver as a result. On Friday, Davis added that — knowing that the team’s season has been on the line for weeks — he actually tried to return even earlier than he ultimately did, but his injury wouldn’t allow him to.

“The urgency was always there to try and get back. The foot was just not participating,” Davis said. “After the road trip it was just like ‘all right, let’s just do it, let’s just go and see what happens.’ So it’s not all the way where I want it to be, and maybe that’s where the discomfort was in the fourth quarter, but still got a day off tomorrow to try and get it ready for Sunday.”

Neither star guaranteed that they would be ready to go when the Lakers take on the Nuggets at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, in a start that is so early after a road-home back-to-back that head coach Frank Vogel has said multiple times in the last few days that the NBA schedule makers need to reconsider situations like that.

Still, Davis made it clear that it was hard for him to sit and watch while his team fell toward the verge of postseason elimination. It’s hard to imagine he’d voluntarily do so again, barring a major setback in his foot overnight.

“It’s always tough, just being on the sidelines when the guys out there are battling every night,” Davis said. “This was definitely a huge game for us, so I definitely didn’t want to sit out this game. Even wanted to play in the last game as well vs. New Orleans, that whole road trip, that was my initial thought. But like I said, the foot wasn’t quite ready for me to go out and play. Knowing that the game in New Orleans was also a big game for us, I was just trying to come back as soon as possible, and was able to come back tonight.”

It wasn’t enough to help the Lakers win, but the team hasn’t given up yet.

“Until it says we’re eliminated than it doesn’t (feel like the end),” James said. “Until that moment, then we’ll know our destiny, but right now we don’t. So just keep pushing forward.”

“I think we have to believe. I don’t think it’s over,” Davis added as he sat next to James. “We have to believe. And I believe, and I know this guy to my left believes, and everyone in this locker room believes. We’ve got to go out and get it done. It’s that simple. We have to win these games.”

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