The story of the 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers season has been untimely blows. The latest came in the form of an MCL sprain to Anthony Davis, who will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
In the third quarter of Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jaden McDaniels fell backward into AD’s leg, forcing the eight-time All-Star out of the game. Cameras caught Davis wilting in pain in the tunnel on the way to the locker room.
The incident was fluky, but an injury to AD’s leg is not. Davis missed two games with soreness in his left knee early last week. He missed 36 of 72 games plus playoff action in 2020-21 with left leg injuries. He’s been listed on the injury report with nine different ailments this season. He suffered a right ankle injury earlier in Friday’s game. He’s been crashing to the floor on a regular basis.
All things considered, Davis — who said he heard something “pop” when it happened – and the Lakers are relatively lucky that his injury wasn’t worse.
“Last year was a more of a ‘me’ thing,” Davis said. “This year was like a freakish play. So knowing that nothing I really could have done to avoid it, I guess, keeps me in a good place. … I mean, mentally, I’m fine. I’m in good spirits, just being around the team.
Regardless, it’s the latest hold-up as the re-tooled Lakers struggle to build a foundation.
Davis bulked up over the summer and he’s shouldered his brunt of criticism for the Lakers’ underperformance. It’s partially justified. AD’s effort, physicality, and shot selection have been inconsistent, and his jump-shooting has been brutal. His numbers — 23.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.0 blocks, 56.9 TS% — still place him as one of the best players in the world, and his paint production and defense have been customarily elite.