Just a few hours after Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Anthony Davis was making “encouraging” progress in the continuing rehabilitation of the stress injury he suffered in his right foot, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham confirmed to the assembled media that Davis is advancing towards a return.
During his remarks to the press before Wednesday’s nationally televised matchup with the Miami Heat, Ham said that Davis was “on pace” to return as quickly as the Lakers were hoping when they initially got news of the injury.
Darvin Ham on Anthony Davis: “He’s going right according to plan.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 5, 2023
Ham confirmed Davis had another MRI recently.
“It’s right on pace with what we thought it’d be,” Ham added.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for a specific date to pin those hopes to, however.
Last week, Davis indicated that he did not want to put out a specific timeline for his return, saying that “I don’t want to use timetables because if you don’t meet that timetable, it’s a whole different thing. But it’s healing pretty quickly.”
Unsurprisingly, Ham also declined to provide a more specific date or time range on Wednesday.
Specifically, however, Ham did not provide any additional clarity as to the exact timeline of AD's potential return to play— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) January 5, 2023
However, it is worth noting that in the same chat with reporters last week, Davis said his pain has “subsided tremendously.” Initial reports pegged Davis as slated to miss at least a month from the time of his injury, which would have cost him 17 games. But the Lakers have, prior to Wednesday’s matchup with Miami, played 9 of those games, going 4-5 (5-5 if you could him leaving early against Denver). And if Davis actually could return in a month — rather than just being “re-evaluated” then, a big if, to be sure — that could see him return as quickly as Jan. 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Again, these are all hypotheticals for now based on the limited information that has trickled out through media reports. None of the involved parties have said much of substance on the record here, or at least not as it pertains to when Davis could get back on the floor. And given Davis’ reputation — fair or unfair — when it comes to injuries, it’s hard to blame all parties involved for wanting to avoid setting expectations he can then be held to, or potentially even miss, further contributing to that aforementioned rep.
But at the very least, it’s encouraging that everyone in the know seems to be painting a picture of an expected recovery rather than a complicated one filled with setbacks. If that continues, Davis may be back sooner than you think.