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Anthony Davis explains why he’s battled through injuries to remain on court this season

Fairly or not, Anthony Davis has been given an injury prone label that he’s worked hard to shed this season.

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Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Anthony Davis’ injury history has been a well-documented and oft-discussed topic. His dominance with the Lakers has typically only been interrupted by stretches on the injury report.

And even if they’ve often been through no faults of their own, AD has had to battle the injury-prone label. This season, he’s done wonders to push back on that narrative. Not only has he played in 24 of the team’s 26 games, he’s done so while battling injuries throughout the season.

Friday served as his second missed game of the year, coming largely as a form of load management. After Wednesday’s game last week against the Spurs in which he dominated to lead the way to a win without LeBron James, Davis spoke about why he felt it was important to be on the court this season.

“Giving my team a chance to win,” AD said. “I know when I’m on the floor and I’m playing, my team has a higher chance of winning than me being out (with) my presence defensively, my presence offensively. Then, it’s just that we’re trying to win basketball games. Second night of a back-to-back, obviously, against a team who is struggling, but it’s not about the opponent, it’s about us.

“It’s trying to keep myself and our guys in a great rhythm. That’s all it is. Just wanting to play basketball and knowing when I’m on the floor, our chances are a lot higher of winning.”

At the risk of jinxing things — and I’m knocking on wood — AD played 25 of the team’s first 28 games before going down with injury. The year prior, he played 27 of the team’s first 30 games before injury and in 2020-21, he played 23 of the first 28 games before an injury sidelined him.

Effectively, this is about the point in the season where his body has broken down before. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything because, as previously mentioned, AD’s injuries have been freak ones many times that can’t be controlled.

But aside from my attempts at jinxing AD’s health, it is interesting to see him so determined to play. While he may not admit it, the notion that he’s injury-prone is probably one that bugs him, and he wants to dispel it.

There also is likely another thing at play here and it’s the new 65-game minimum to qualify for awards. Again, it’s not something he would likely admit to, but guys are going to be pushing to make sure they make that 65-game mark to be considered for awards this year.

And Davis has a great shot at a number of awards, ranging from All-Defense teams to Defensive Player of the Year as well as All-NBA teams, based on his current play.

To be fair, all of this is also just ignoring what he said, which is also true. The Lakers are, obviously, better if AD plays and he wants to be good. It’s the most simple reason why he’s playing this year, but it’s certainly fair.

Ultimately, whatever the motivation, whatever the reason, it’s awesome to see AD not just on the floor regularly, but playing at such a high level while doing it.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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