UPDATE, 5/12 - Prior to Game 6, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham provided the last update on Davis, stating he was progressing fine and is expected to play.
Darvin Ham says Anthony Davis is “progressing fine” and “should be available,” as expected.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 13, 2023
Based on how everything progressed and the hours and days after Game 5, this was the expected outcome for the Lakers and one that sets up a fascinating Game 6.
Previous update and original story follows
UPDATE, 5/11 - Ham provided an update on Anthony Davis’ status during his media availability on Thursday, and it was a wholly encouraging one. Ham noted that Davis does not have a concussion and was not in protocols and was “feeling great.”
Darvin Ham on Anthony Davis: "We checked in with him. He's feeling great. Our medical staff gave us a great update. He's not in the protocol. Not showing any signs of anything. He'll be listed as probable tomorrow ... That was great, great news."— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) May 11, 2023
Ham was also directly asked if the team evaluated Davis for a concussion, to which he offered a strong response.
I asked Lakers coach Darvin Ham on if medical team evaluated Anthony Davis specifically to see if he had a concussion. Ham: "We wouldn't go out and make statements without that being the case. We follow protocol, not just with AD, but any of our players and any of our employees."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 11, 2023
That should, then, put an end to the question surrounding Davis’ injury. If he was evaluated for a concussion and is not showing symptoms, there is no reason to question that.
Ahead of Friday’s Game 6, Davis wasn’t even listed on the injury report with any sort of head injury.
Anthony Davis is not even listed with any head injury in the injury report pic.twitter.com/2JbCMdFQwK— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) May 11, 2023
And that is good, even great, news for the Lakers heading into Game 6. Without Davis, chances of winning the game would have been minuscule and the same with the series. With him, the Lakers will look for a third and final win over the Warriors at home in this series.
Original story follows
While the Lakers losing Game 5 in Golden State wasn’t all that damaging or surprising, losing Anthony Davis in the process most certainly was. After an errant elbow from Kevon Looney caught Davis in the head, the big man exited the game, did not return, and looked to be in bad shape.
The worries of a concussion were certainly valid, and the concerns about his status moving forward were aplenty. As the best player in the series so far, the Lakers hopes without Davis drop drastically.
Now, things are at a standstill when it comes to this series. Davis’ availability will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this series and both sides are aware of that.
The optimism for Davis and the Lakers should come from the increasingly encouraging reports that surfaced after the game. Immediately following the contest, head coach Darvin Ham said Davis noted that Davis was doing better.
Lakers Coach Darvin Ham on Anthony Davis (head injury): "He took a shot to the head. He seems to be doing really good already. That's where he's at and the status of it right now."— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 11, 2023
Chris Haynes, who both writes for Bleacher Report and served as the sideline reporter for Wednesday’s game, was the source of many of the reports following the game and into Thursday. First, he gave a rather detailed report about Davis and how the team handled the situation during and after the game.
It appears that Anthony Davis has avoided a concussion, per @ChrisBHaynes pic.twitter.com/MG6d7YROdh— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 11, 2023
Early on Thursday, then, Haynes — who is typically rather well-sourced when it comes to LeBron James and AD — provided the most encouraging update on the situation yet.
Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis (head injury) is expected to be available for Game 6 on Friday barring a setback, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 11, 2023
With perhaps the strongest vote of confidence yet, Dave McMenamin of ESPN — another very trusted source when it comes to the Lakers and LeBron and AD — appeared on NBA Today and said pretty definitively that AD would be playing in Game 6.
As I just reported on NBA Today, a source close to Anthony Davis told ESPN on Thursday morning he "doesn't envision any scenario" where AD would miss Friday's Game 6 against the Warriors. "It's the playoffs," the source added.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 11, 2023
Now, those are noteworthy reports and certainly reliable, but there is still some reason for pause. Concussions are a very serious matter — no matter how much TNT and ESPN want to pay people to laugh about them — and should be treated with the utmost caution.
If Davis was “wobbly” and his “equilibrium was off” as Haynes suggested in his report, then everything should be done in the coming hours and days to ensure Davis’ health and safety first. Head injuries are incredibly serious and should be treated as such.
Of note as well is that the Lakers have not used the term “concussion” in any of this, whether in their own quotes or through reports. If there is a hint of a concussion, then protocols from the league would potentially come into play and that would hinder his availability for Game 6 and potentially Game 7.
This isn’t an argument for that being the right or wrong move, just an explanation as to why that phrase hasn’t been used by the Lakers. Don’t be surprised if he’s on the injury report on Thursday with “head injury” as they look to avoid the phrase again.
Obviously, the hope for Lakers fans is that Davis will be available for Game 6, and they certainly will need him to close out the series. But health comes before that, particularly with head injuries.
Certainly, this will make for a nervy lead-up to Game 6, the biggest game of the season for the Lakers once again. We will continue to update this post as more reports and news on the situation comes out, so be sure to continue checking in on this page for the latest info.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.