Los Angeles Lakers fans are not going to be in a festive mood this week after hearing that Anthony Davis will be out for a month due to a foot injury.
The injury came after what looked like a light collision with Nikola Jokic, which saw Davis limping up the court before sitting down for the rest of the game.
This latest ailment to their oft-hurt star complicates things greatly for the Lakers, who were starting to string together some wins after an awful 2-10 start. Without Davis, the Lakers will have to rely heavily on LeBron James alone, and at this stage of his career he may not be enough to carry them to sustained success without risking injury himself.
The Lakers did get off to a good start after the news about Davis broke, though, as they came up with a tight 119-117 victory against the Washington Wizards. James was the star of the show, finishing with 33 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and a block while making 13 of 24 shots. He also got a boost from Lonnie Walker, who put up 21 points of his own.
James has been balling out lately, but as mentioned earlier, his durability and fatigue could be called into question as he gets forced into more usage to make up for his missing co-star.
Problems are further compounded by their schedule during the estimated duration of Davis’ absence. Here’s a look at who they’ll be facing over the next month.
- Phoenix (Away)
- Sacramento (Away)
- Dallas (Away)
- Orlando (Away)
- Miami (Away)
- Atlanta (Away)
- Sacramento (Away)
- Denver (Away)
Only three of those opponents are not currently fighting for a spot in the play-ins or playoffs. That would be Orlando, Houston and Charlotte. However, Orlando have recently been stringing together big wins, including two over the Boston Celtics. In an extremely tight Western Conference playoff race, where the Lakers are in 13th place with a 13-16 record, any string of losses could spell disaster for their postseason hopes. Looking at their schedule, going 7-7 over the 14 games would already be considered a success, but there’s a good chance they’ll lose more games than they’ll win over this stretch.
The defending champion Golden State Warriors, who are just above the Lakers in 11th with a 14-16 record, are facing the same kind of situation due to Steph Curry’s shoulder injury and Andrew Wiggins’ continuing pain.
We’ll have to see if James can push himself to carry the team without causing himself any damage, especially since he turns 38 before the end of the year. The timing Davis’ injury is unfortunate also because of how well he’d started to play again before getting hurt. In his last seven games before being injured against the Nuggets, he put up at least 24 points and 14 rebounds.