Anthony Davis injury update: Lakers star cleared for full on-court activity, could return for Jazz series

Anthony Davis hasn’t played for the Los Angeles Lakers since Valentine’s Day, but according to Frank Vogel, his return is getting closer and closer. The Lakers coach told reporters Thursday that Davis has been cleared for full on-court activities, and while it was “unlikely” that he would return for one of the team’s two upcoming games against the Utah Jazz (Saturday and Monday), he wouldn’t rule it out. When Davis does return, Vogel revealed that he plans to limit him to around 15 minutes of playing time at first. 

Davis was initially ruled out with a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis. The prognosis originally called him for to return around the All-Star break, but the Lakers have exercised an abundance of caution with their superstar big man. Given their shortened offseason, Davis’ health record and the preponderance of injuries around the league, they have held Davis out longer than expected and accepted the hit in the standings even with LeBron James sidelined as well. 

But now Davis is nearing his return, and just in time. The Lakers have the seventh-hardest schedule remaining in the NBA and are about to begin their most difficult stretch. After Thursday’s game against the Boston Celtics, the Lakers will host the league-best Jazz for two games at Staples Center before traveling to Dallas for two games against the Mavericks. Those are the most important games of the season for the Lakers, as the Mavericks are currently No. 7 in the Western Conference and trail the Lakers by 3.5 games in the standings. If the Lakers want to avoid the play-in round of the postseason, winning at least one of those games will be critical.

Having Davis is their best chance at doing so. The Lakers are still far from full strength. They won’t look like themselves again until James returns from his high ankle sprain, and even then, both of their stars will need time to ramp back up. But the defending champions are finally starting to turn a corner when it comes to their health, and that should terrify the rest of the Western Conference. 

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