Anthony Davis has struggled to stay healthy in recent years. He gave the Los Angeles Lakers just 76 games over the past two seasons, but this season he has appeared in 25 of the team’s first 28 games. In staying healthy, Davis has also played perhaps the best basketball of his career. He is averaging 28.1 points and a league-best 12.4 rebounds per game for the Lakers while anchoring their defense, but on Friday, Davis may have suffered his first meaningful injury of the season.
It came in the first half against the Denver Nuggets, when Davis seemingly tweaked his ankle on a post-up attempt against Nikola Jokic. Davis wound up playing 17 minutes in the first half, but he did not come back onto the court for the second. The Lakers ultimately ruled him out for the game with what they are describing as a right foot injury.
While Davis is experiencing discomfort in his right foot, there is hope that he did not suffer a serious injury, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. He will likely undergo an MRI for further evaluation.
If Davis does need to miss time, the Lakers are going to struggle to win games without him. They have been 11 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor this season, and while Thomas Bryant has shown promise as a backup lately, asking him to play the sort of minutes Davis does is unreasonable. LeBron James has played some minutes at center in the past to compensate when Davis goes out, but that alignment has largely been disastrous defensively.
Ultimately the Lakers will likely be as cautious as possible with Davis. Keeping him healthy is their only chance at meaningful contention. In that vein, the last two games Davis has missed have been half of a back-to-back. If that is the case, the onus is on the rest of the roster to pick up the slack without him. Davis has carried the Lakers this season. Now it might be time for someone else to take a turn.