Already missing LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers recieved a major scare when Anthony Davis stumbled near the scorer's table in the first quarter against the LA Clippers.
Falling to the ground holding his right ankle, Davis appeared to be in significant pain, before heading to the locker room to be assessed.
The star big man would not return, with the team curiously reporting his injury to be back spasms, not the ankle.
"Ankle is fine," Davis confirmed postgame. "My back locked up pretty bad. I feel little better now. I should be good to go tomorrow. My plan is to go tomorrow."
The Lakers say that Anthony Davis has back spasms and will not return. pic.twitter.com/8EGccURDYp- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 7, 2021
The Lakers were never in the game against the rival Clippers, blown away 118-94 with their offence continuing to falter. Kyle Kuzma (25) and Montrezl Harrell (14) were the only Lakers to score in double-digits, though even they only shot 13-for-28 from the field. Overall, the team finished 33-for-87 from the floor and 10-for-36 from beyond the arc.
While Davis appeared confident his latest injury will not hold him back, the absence of James took a new twist postgame when head coach Frank Vogel revealed the superstar's absence was not actually medically related. "He's just not here" was Vogel's answer when asked why James was not present.
Ruled out for the next game against the Portland Trail Blazers, James will have missed three straight. This absence comes on the back of returning for just two games after missing 20 with a high ankle sprain.
Kentavious Caldwell-Posterized 💥💥💥 pic.twitter.com/bJF3GoxVYA- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 7, 2021
With the injury toll mounting, the meeting with Portland could prove critical, with both teams locked at 37-29 on the season. The loser of tomorrow night's game will slip into the seven seed to officially be in the Play-In Tournament zone.
"Just keep fighting. I mean, we know when we're all healthy the type of team that we have. We saw it earlier in the year, and that's what we all will work back to," Davis told reporters postgame.
"When we're 100 percent healthy, we are the top team in the league and so we keep that in our minds...we know we're gonna get 100 percent healthy. Bron maybe has a week, Dennis, five, six days. But when we get everyone healthy, especially headed to the playoffs, we know what time of team we are and I think the league knows the type of team we are."
On the clock with just four games remaining in the regular season, an added incentive of avoiding the Play-In games would be having a week off before the start of the first-round. If the Lakers do ultimately find themselves in a one-off game to save the season, Davis will remain positive.
"We need games to get back accustomed to each other anyway. So if it happens that way, it happens that way. Obviously we don't want it to go that way."
In many respects, the playoffs begin tomorrow for the defending champions, with a brutal two month run road requiring navigation if they are to repeat.
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