The Los Angeles Lakers’ season ended with a whimper last week as the team fell in six games to the Phoenix Suns. The defining theme of the Lakers’ year took its final blow when Anthony Davis returned from his strained groin, only to go down in pain just a few minutes into the game.
Davis ultimately only played in 41 games this year, including the five-minute cameo in the team’s final game of the season. It was a devastating blow to a team dealing with myriad other injuries and decided the fate of their season.
Fortunately, it appears that Davis avoided a more serious injury that would have lingered into next year and according to reporting during the game, AD was cleared by Lakers doctors because they did not fear a risk of further injury. That, in addition to the stakes of the moment, led to Davis telling Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he had no regrets about trying to play despite clearly not looking healthy:
“I couldn’t move to my right,” Davis told Yahoo Sports after the Phoenix Suns eliminated them in six games. “That’s why I reacted that way [in the first quarter] when [Devin] Booker drove left and I had to slide to my right. That s*** hurt. There was nothing I could do, but I just wanted to be out there for my team so bad.
“Me going out there didn’t have anything to do with me trying to be tough; I felt I owed it to my team to try to be out there with them,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I knew the only way I was going to be healthy enough to play was to get some rest, but time wasn’t on my side. So, I tried to give it a go. I don’t regret anything. I’ll be fine. Our team will be fine. I like our chances when healthy.”
Davis expressed the same sentiment during exit interviews and even placed some blame on himself for the season ending more quickly than they imagined.
Anthony Davis has clearly carried the injury label for a long time even though it hasn’t always been fair; he’s been largely healthy for the last four seasons prior to this one. Of course, any Lakers fan can tell you the anxiety they feel every time he hits the floor or has to leave a game for treatment, which is quite often. That’s just going to be part of the development for one of the league’s biggest stars. Rightly or wrongly, he will see criticism for his injury trouble and it’s just a matter of him getting healthy and staying healthy – by whatever means – for the Lakers to continue seeing success with him.
The one thing no one can criticize him for, however, is his toughness. When the team’s back was against the wall, he gave it whatever he had left in the tank but ultimately it was not enough.