The Los Angeles Lakers are getting back one of their largest reinforcements as All-Star center Anthony Davis is expected to return to action Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Davis had been sidelined since Feb. 16 due to a mid-foot sprain — just the latest in a frustrating season that also included an MCL sprain that held him out for 17 games between Dec. 19 and Jan. 23.
The 29-year-old is the proverbial Robin to LeBron James’ Batman in Los Angeles — a duo that is the centerpiece of the franchise’s hopes to contend for the postseason in an always-difficult Western Conference.
But the loss of the Kentucky product for large portions this season — he missed another 17 games with this most recent injury — has put an incredible amount of stress on the Lakers to stay afloat.
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And they haven’t been without him, which is saying a lot because the team was a less-than-impressive 17-20 with him in the lineup.
During Davis’ most recent absence, the Lakers have gone 4-13 while plummeting entirely out of the Western Conference playoff race. A loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night ensured that they fell out of the 10th spot, which is the final play-in slot of the NBA’s expanded playoffs.
During both of his extended injury absences, the Lakers went just 11-23.
The eight-time All-Star has averaged 23.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this season, but his fit alongside James and Russell Westbrook had been in question even when healthy. Now, he and his star teammates will have to re-adjust on the fly to salvage a season that has experienced a significant downturn.