Two separate medical concerns that will require treatment led Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans to come to a difficult decision, but one that needed to be made. That’s the message Davis and Alvin Gentry delivered Monday, as they addressed the end of the three-time All-Star’s 2015-16 season.
Davis, 23, has been dealing with left shoulder discomfort since his rookie season and recently aggravated a left knee issue Friday vs. Portland. As a result, the power forward has been shut down for the final 14 games of New Orleans’ season. Davis said both health concerns will be addressed; he estimated a 4-5 month timetable for him to return to the basketball court.
“That’s a long time without a basketball in your hands – that’s what I think about,” Davis said of a forced break from the game. “But at the end of the day, you just want to be healthy, and get ready for the start of next season, being ready for training camp and preseason, trying to be back with the team as soon as possible.”
The combination of shoulder and knee injuries was the deciding factor in ending his season, Davis added.
“The biggest thing was because of the knee,” Davis said. “The knee has to get looked at, so we might as well do the shoulder as well, instead of waiting and then something happens to the shoulder. Might as well knock both of them out at the same time.”
Unfortunately for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and key member of the United States’ 2014 FIBA World Cup championship team, his timetable for recovery means he’ll miss the upcoming Summer Olympics in Brazil. Davis appeared to become a bit emotional when he was asked about not getting the opportunity to play, which only comes once every four years.
“That’s tough. It’s definitely tough,” he said. “Twenty-three years old – (I could play in) a couple more Olympics, maybe. I love USA Basketball, loved when I played in 2012, loved the World Cup in 2014. It was definitely a tough decision. But I think everyone understands that health is more important than (being) on the floor. I love playing for USA Basketball and representing my country. Hopefully I’ll get a chance again to play for Team USA.”
Davis’ appearance in Friday’s home game vs. Portland came to an end at halftime. In looking back at that first half, he had a few indications physically that his left knee was affecting him, right from the first minute of the game. Despite the ailment, he managed to score 19 points in 14 minutes.
Davis: “I couldn’t explode. I didn’t feel like myself. The first play of the game, I airballed a layup. There were a couple plays where I could’ve dunked the ball, but I couldn’t really get up. It just bothered me, to the point where I couldn’t really move or do the things I usually do on the court.”
What happened Friday began the decision-making process to start thinking about being healthy for the 2016-17 campaign. Davis will still be only 23 years old when next season tips off in October.
“We definitely came to an agreement, to figure out what’s best for the long term,” Davis said. “As a player, you don’t want to have chronic pains or a chronic injury with anything. I want to play double-digit years in the league, not just seven or eight years. It sucks, but it’s something that needs to be done.”