Anthony Davis plans to play vs. Mavericks on Thursday after 9-week absence

Jason Owens
·2 min read

Anthony Davis plans to play on Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks after missing nine weeks with a calf strain.

The Los Angeles Lakers forward suffered the injury on Feb. 14 against the Denver Nuggets and hasn't played since. He told reporters on Wednesday that he feels "100 percent" and will suit up against Dallas. 

Frank Vogel confirmed to reporters that Davis will start, but will be restricted to around 15 minutes.

Davis suffered the non-contact injury while planting his right foot on a drive. He had missed two games the previous week with right Achilles tendonosis, prompting fear that he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Davis: 'I just wanted to make sure it was 100 percent'

Test results the following day confirmed the calf strain, and Davis was reportedly given an initial 2-3 week time frame before reevaluation of his injury. Thursday's return falls well beyond that initial time frame, indicating that Davis and the Lakers took a conservative approach to his return to the court.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis gestures while watching the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Anthony Davis is ready for his return from street clothes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"I just wanted to make sure it was 100 percent when I came back," Davis said. "I don’t want to have go through over and over for the rest of the season, let alone the rest of my career. 

"I wanted to make sure that I was coming back 100 percent because it wouldn’t be fair to myself. It wouldn’t be fair to my team."

Davis also said that he initially feared the worst when he felt the pain of the injury on the court. 

"I never tore an Achilles, but I kind of felt like sharp pain, like it was ripping, which I had never felt before," Davis said. "... So I knew it was something serious. It wasn't as serious as it could have been, but it was still a pretty significant injury."

Can Lakers improve playoff standing with Davis back?

The Lakers have gone 14-16 since Davis suffered his injury. They've also played since March 20 without LeBron James, who remains sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Despite the injuries, the Lakers remain safely in playoff contention at 35-23, good for fifth place in the West and four games ahead of the seventh-place Mavericks, who are on the wrong side of the cutoff for the postseason play-in games

The Lakers have 14 games remaining in the regular season as they look to secure better playoff seeding. The Nuggets have a 2.5-game lead for fourth place in the West, which comes with home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. 

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