Source: Lakers’ Davis has foot injury, set to miss weeks
TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers has a right foot injury that’s expected to keep him sidelined for several weeks, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The severity of the injury was still being determined Sunday and that was keeping the team from forming a specific timetable for his return, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither Davis nor the Lakers had released any information publicly.
The Athletic first reported that Davis was facing an extended absence, and multiple media outlets also confirmed the injury status.
Before the Lakers hosted Washington on Sunday night, Darvin Ham confirmed the team has no firm timetable for Davis’ return. The rookie head coach said Davis will see more specialists on Sunday night.
“The season is fairly early, and he just has to take care of his business, starting first and foremost with him getting back healthy,” Ham said.
Davis — who leads the Lakers with averages of 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, numbers that had him in the NBA’s MVP conversation — was injured in the first half of the Lakers’ win over Denver on Friday night. He did not play after halftime.
It is yet another in a long line of injury woes for the eight-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection. He missed 36 of the Lakers’ 72 regular-season games in the 2020-21 season, then didn’t play in 42 of their 82 games last season.
Davis missed his fifth game of this season due to injury when the Lakers hosted the Wizards. He has been managing lower back pain for several weeks, but he has also been on a run of frequently spectacular play, scoring at least 25 points in his last 12 consecutive games that didn’t end early due to injury.
Ham said his advice to Davis was “(to) just focus on your health, and whatever the issue is, once it gets alleviated, just start the process to get back on the floor, and that’s as simple as that.
“Injuries are a big part of our league and a part of major sports in general,” Ham added. “Unfortunately, he’s had the injury history that he’s had, but there’s no time to cry over spilled milk.”
The Lakers don’t have a comparable replacement for Davis, but Thomas Bryant could help if he can match his performance in the second half against the Nuggets after Davis’ injury. Bryant finished with 21 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
The Lakers have been gradually building momentum since their 2-10 start to the season, winning 10 of their past 16 games. They also suffered two of those losses because Davis failed to make last-minute free throws that likely would have iced games the Lakers eventually lost in overtime.
Davis’ latest lengthy absence is a serious threat to their hopes of returning to playoff contention, but Ham is confident the Lakers can endure.
“The first priority is to take care of his health,” Davis said. “The hell with what people have to say. Just block out that noise. We have a phenomenal medical staff. Really, really brilliant people within the organization who’s going to make sure he has the best medical care, and then once we find out what’s going on, we’ll act accordingly.”
Godofredo A. Vásquez
Commissioner Adam Silver has made clear, especially after the league went into the 2020 season restart bubble at Walt Disney World because of the pandemic, that the NBA needs to do even more to pay tribute to its greatest players — particularly some of the league’s Black players from a generation or two ago, whose stories may not necessarily resonate among younger fans of today.
Rebranding and redesigning is not an easy process, particularly in a league that considers itself to be steeped with tradition.
It was not a coincidence that the six new division championship trophies introduced late last season were named for Black pioneers of the game — Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, Wayne Embry, Earl Lloyd, Willis Reed, Sam Jones and Chuck Cooper.
“I know that what we do in this league is important symbolically, not just for sports but for other industries, and people watch us all around the world,” Silver said at last season’s NBA Finals.
No, this is not a conflict for Jordan even though he owns the Charlotte Hornets. Jordan rarely enters the spotlight anymore and picks his spots very carefully; he did not want this trophy to be in his likeness, did not speak out about Tuesday’s announcement and rarely offers public comment on any topic.
The MVP trophy tends to be presented by the commissioner; it wouldn’t seem likely that Jordan would be called upon to do so, even though there is no rule — tampering-related or otherwise — that would prevent it.
The NBA asked Bill Russell to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy that bears his name and he did for many years, until the pandemic and his health prevented him from continuing that tradition. Russell died earlier this year.
It’s a lot. There’s the Larry O’Brien (NBA champions), the Jordan (MVP), the Russell (NBA Finals MVP), Red Auerbach (coach of the year), Joe Dumars (sportsmanship), Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (conference finals MVP’s), Kobe Bryant (All-Star MVP), and the six divisional trophies.
There’s also a slew of new or rebranded ones announced Tuesday -- Hakeem Olajuwon (defensive player of the year), John Havlicek (sixth man), Wilt Chamberlain (rookie), and George Mikan (most improved). A new trophy this year is the Clutch Player of the Year, named for “Mr. Clutch” himself, Jerry West.
“There are few greater thrills as a basketball player than coming through for your teammates and fans when they need it most,” West said. “This new trophy will be awarded to the player who best delivers in those moments.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the league’s social justice champion trophy bearing his name, David Robinson the NBA Community Assist Monthly Award one, and Bob Lanier has the Community Assist season-long trophy.
Godofredo A. Vásquez
This wasn’t one or two people. The league formed a group of about 20 people, from at least a half-dozen different departments, to meet and decide how to change the trophies and in some cases the namesake elements.
The process took several months, the league said.
It doesn’t seem right that David Stern — the league’s commissioner for 30 years, Silver’s predecessor and mentor and one of the people who basically helped saved the league from financial peril in the 1980’s — doesn’t have a trophy bearing his name.
If the league adds an in-season tournament, and there are plans in place to have one possibly as soon as next season, Stern would seem like a candidate for that trophy.
Jae C. Hong
Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis leaves the court after the team's 122-118 overtime loss in an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)