The Los Angeles Lakers don’t technically have the best record in the NBA but, at 20-6 and with an active six-game winning streak, the reigning champions are also the favorites to repeat in 2020-21. To that end, the regular season isn’t necessarily the overriding focus for the Lakers and, with that in mind, star big man Anthony Davis has missed the last two games with what the team is calling right Achilles tendonosis.
Davis has appeared in 21 of 26 games this season but, unlike other injuries that he may attempt to play through at this juncture in the season, he told the media Thursday that the Achilles is a different story.
“This is just a different circumstance with it being an Achilles. If it was a quad or finger, anything like that, I wouldn’t mind playing,” Davis said. “But I just don’t really want to play around with an Achilles. Today was the first day we were able to practice, get some run-in with some guys to really test it out.”
Quite honestly, this makes a lot of sense. There is absolutely no reason to push anything for Davis, and that would be true in the regular season even if the Lakers weren’t dominating the competition. The All-NBA big man is a fixture at the highest level of the NBA but, in addition to common sense surrounding any player, Davis is 27 years old and signed long-term, meaning the Lakers have even more incentive to be careful.
“I just don’t want to play a game where I still feel it and then get hurt and now I’m out for the playoffs or whatever or for multiple weeks, where it’s something I can’t control and maintain right now where you miss two games or three games early on in the season or midseason and be ready to go for the rest of the season,” Davis said.
The Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday before hitting the road for a quick, two-game trip to Denver and Minnesota. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel shared that Davis did “no-contact drill work” on Thursday, with his status up in the air for Friday until they see how Davis feels.
“He’s going to see how he feels with it today, but more importantly how it responds overnight and see how he feels tomorrow before making any decisions on the game,” Vogel told reporters.
Davis and his team will seemingly take this day-by-day until otherwise noted. Even if he can’t play on Friday, though, Davis is intent on taking a cautious approach and that seems like the best way to operate.