There were 67 days, 30 missed games and five missed shots for Anthony Davis before he was able to stamp his return from injury with a bucket on Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks.
After the Los Angeles Lakers star’s 19-foot rebound shot fell through the net for 4 minutes and 51 seconds in the first quarter to improve LA by one, Davis frowned and shook his head as if to say, “Over the time. “
Playing for the visiting Lakers for the visiting Lakers, Davis, who played for the visiting Lakers after taking nearly nine weeks to recover from a calf strain and achilles tendonitis in his right leg, was at halftime in the 115-110 loss finished by LA.
“I didn’t think about it once tonight,” Davis later said of his injury. “Honestly, I just went out and played. I think it can limit your work if you are out there thinking about your injury. So I just went out and played and didn’t think about it. Just go out there and have you Have fun and be excited to be back on the ground. That was my main thing. I was just excited to be back on the ground with the guys so I never thought about it. I don’t have any limits to any movement. I have didn’t hesitate with anything, so that was a good sign for me. “
Lakers coach Frank Vogel had told reporters before the game that Davis would only play in the first half and that his playing time would be limited to the 15-minute range. Davis said afterwards – perhaps as a preview of what to expect from him in the Lakers’ next game on Saturday – that the minute range was actually 15-20, but it made sense that it would be kept at the low end after such a game long discharge.
Davis finished 2v10 with four points, four rebounds, an assist, a block, and a steal. He also missed both free-throw attempts and beat LA by 11 points in the 16 minutes he played. He also didn’t have his normal defensive influence as opponents shot 15 points 6-of-9 for 15 points when Davis was the main defender, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I felt good,” said Davis. “My wind felt better than expected. I looked good. I missed it. That comes with time and the ability to get those replays. But I felt good out there. I felt really good. And could do some things that might give that. ” Team a little juice. “
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he had a look at Davis’s old self when he started the second quarter with Dorian Finney-Smith guarding him on the left block and turning right around him to get to the edge.
“The post-up that he had, the spin move,” said Caldwell-Pope. “We definitely missed his presence down there.”
LA is still waiting for the return of LeBron James, who fell out with a bad ankle sprain last month but saw Davis play alongside Andre Drummond for the first time.
“Being in the same place as AD has given me a lot of leeway to do some of the things that I’m very good at, which is recovering,” said Drummond, who finished with 14 points and 19 rebounds. “The focus is on him. When he gets the ball, all five eyes are on him, but they don’t just do that, they leave the best rebounder in the NBA wide open. Every shot he misses is me accurate there to clean it up. “
Dennis Schroder, who finished the point guard’s best game as Laker with 25 points and 13 assists, said it was understandable that Davis would shoot a lot to find a rhythm, largely because his minutes were on such a short leash.
Schroder’s confidence in the team for the big picture wasn’t shaken at all by Davis’ slow start.
“Personally, I think if everyone’s in a seven-game series I’ll put my money on us,” he said.
While the numbers suggested it was an awkward return for the Lakers great man, Vogel found many positive things in Davis’ mere presence on the pitch.
“It was great to have him back in a Lakers uniform and on the ground for us,” said Vogel. “He had a bit of rust, but I thought he played really well. And we’re so happy to have him back out there. … Even though we lost, it was a really positive night for the Lakers in terms of Where do we go.”