Rumblings began on April 10 that both LeBron James and Anthony Davis were at least nearing their returns to the floor for the Los Angeles Lakers. While James’ timeline is still unclear, the Lakers relayed some positive news on Thursday evening, with head coach Frank Vogel bringing word that Davis could be on the court in game action as early as next Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks after being cleared to practice in full — the Lakers play the Jazz on Saturday and Monday, but Vogel said it was unlikely he’d be back that soon.
Anthony Davis has been fully cleared to participate in practice. Could return at Dallas, Vogel says
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) April 16, 2021
Davis has been sidelined for more than two months with a calf strain and tendinosis in his right leg, last appearing on the floor on Feb. 14 in a road loss to Denver. As a result of the long absence, he won’t hit the ground running with full deployment, with Vogel indicating the Lakers will take their time and keep Davis on a minutes limit in the early going.
Vogel said the Lakers are going to be cautious with ramping up AD’s minutes when he returns. He’ll likely have a 15-minute restriction in his first game.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 16, 2021
The 28-year-old Davis was utterly dominant in the 2020 NBA Playoffs and, in 23 games this season, he is averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. In short, the Lakers need him at his optimal output by the time the playoffs roll around but, given the team’s pedigree and solid standing in the Western Conference playoff picture, taking things slow seems wise. Davis could be back in just a week, however, and that is very positive news as Los Angeles attempts to defend their title in a loaded West.