The Los Angeles Lakers have been downright awful since the All-Star break. Much of that has to do with injuries. All-Star center forward Anthony Davis has missed the last 18 games, while LeBron James has been in and out of the lineup with numerous injuries. The Lakers finally got a piece of good news, as it was announced that Davis is making his return Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was asked about his return and what should be expected. Vogel certainly put it in perspective, noted by The Athletic’s Bill Oram:
“I think when any player is out for this amount of time, it usually takes some time for them to catch a rhythm,” Vogel said. “Obviously, we saw what Paul George did the other night. I think when something like that happens, it can be the exception. It also can be a first-game energy that you don’t necessarily have when you start dealing with game-to-game soreness… So Anthony’s going to be facing all of these things, and hopefully we can get as much out of him as we can.”
Vogel is certainly accurate in his assessment that it typically takes a little time for a player to round into shape after missing so much time. But the Lakers do not have that kind of time. After their most recent loss, they have fallen to 31-45. They are tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the 10th seed and final spot in the play-in tournament. However, San Antonio currently owns the tiebreaker.
The Lakers will try to avoid missing the playoffs for second time during LeBron’s tenure.