Entering Wednesday’s game vs. Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers hadn’t struggled with Anthony Davis out of the lineup. They scored blowout wins against the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers heading in, all since Davis suffered his gluteus maximus contusion on Jan. 7.
Those were the final three games of a nine-game winning streak — even after the loss to Orlando, they sit at 33-8, the best record in the Western Conference. Davis pointed out Tuesday that he is clearly on the mend.
“I’m getting closer to getting back on the floor with these guys,” Davis said. “But the last [few] games, it looks like they don’t need me. So kind of taking it slower than usual.”
Anthony Davis is OUT tonight against the Magic.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 15, 2020
AD is out today. Vogel said he hopes to get AD into some live practice things on Friday before they leave for the road trip.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 15, 2020
Davis further detailed his injury to reporters on Tuesday, explaining how he’s happy that his injury was not more serious than it could have been.
“It was very painful,” Davis said. “Hard for me to walk, obviously. It was pretty tough for me to just roll over on my back and on my side at the initial point of contact. It was tough. I didn’t want any speculation, but I was just praying that it wasn’t anything too serious.
“Very relieving knowing that just based on how it felt, a day-to-day thing, [rather] than a fracture or anything like that where you need surgery and you’re out weeks or months or whatever. I’m glad [that my return timeline is] just based on how I feel.”
🎥 AD gives his approval on how the team has stepped up in his absence. pic.twitter.com/0nHipIdYMg
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 14, 2020
Davis said he hasn’t sprinted since the injury nor has he had any contact drills or 5-on-5 work at practice. As of Thursday he did not fully rule out playing against the Magic, but said he wants to remain cautious as he works on returning.
“Every day it’s getting better and I’m a lot closer than I was three days ago,” Davis said. “Made some more progress today. When I feel like I’m able to get back to my old self and do the moves I’ve always done and be successful at it, that’s when I’ll be able to get back on the floor.”
Aside from Davis being out, the Lakers will also be without guard Rajon Rondo because he has a right ring finger avulsion.
Los Angeles’ nine-game run was one short of tying its season-high of 10 straight victories and marked the fourth time this season the Lakers have won at least seven in a row.
Forward Kyle Kuzma, the subject of trade rumors, is averaging 24.3 points over the last three games, including a season-high 36 against the Thunder. Dwight Howard, who finished with 21 points (including his third 3-pointer of the season) and 15 rebounds in 25 minutes against the Cavaliers, averaged 14.3 points and 11.7 rebounds off the bench in those same three games.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.