Los Angeles Lakers: How to manage Anthony Davis’ return from injury

Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Exploring how the Los Angeles Lakers should manage Anthony Davis’ return from injury.

The Los Angeles Lakers may have lost three of their last five games, but they got some really encouraging news Thursday night. Los Angeles has been trying to survive in the Western Conference without Anthony Davis and LeBron James over the past few weeks, but it appears there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Davis, who has been out of the lineup since mid-February, appears to be nearing a return. According to the Lakers, Davis has been cleared for full on-court activities.

Vogel added that Davis will be on a minutes restriction (as they get him back into live-action playing shape) when he does make his return to the Lakers’ lineup.

How the Los Angeles Lakers should manage Anthony Davis upon his return

And, honestly, that’s the smart and calculated way to hand the return of Anthony Davis. It’s been more than two months since Davis has played real-action basketball and it’s going to take time for him to get back in playing shape and in rhythm.

In fact, you can actually view two months off as somewhat of an offseason – the joke here is that his two months away from injury was actually longer the NBA’s pseudo offseason after the NBA’s restart bubble into this season.

The Lakers need to bring Anthony Davis along slowly and ensure that he doesn’t try too much too quickly, aggravating the injury in the process. The last thing that the Lakers need is a setback because they were trying to ramp up Davis’ return quicker than he was ready to.

And the same needs to take place when LeBron James makes his return. It was reported a week ago that LeBron was still slated to miss three more weeks in his recovery. That would mean that he could be two weeks away from a return. Either way, there needs to be no rush.

Barring a colossal falling apart for the Lakers, this team is likely heading into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the West. They are likely going to face one of the hottest teams in the conference in the Denver Nuggets. This team’s biggest priority heading into the playoffs should be health and load management over the last few weeks of the regular season.

Even if that means declining the opportunity to move back up the standings with the return of Davis and, hopefully, LeBron James over the next couple of weeks. They should slowly ramp up Davis and LeBron and give them necessary days off when called for.

The Lakers are fine. They’re the defending champions and should be confident however they enter the playoffs, assuming they’re healthy. Even entering as a 5-seed, the rest of the conference will be looking up at them heading into the playoffs.

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With a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis, I’m not sure there are many teams that will feel confident as their opponent. That’s how the Lakers need to keep it. That’s why prioritizing health will be key over the next few weeks, even if that means dropping a few more games in the process.