UPDATE: The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported a similar idea to Adrian Wojnarowski, saying Anthony Davis “plans to return Friday vs. the Pelicans, barring setback” that day. It continues to look like we will see him for the first time in a long time Friday evening.
Lakers star Anthony Davis plans to return Friday vs. the Pelicans, barring setback, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Davis has been sidelined since Feb. 14 due to mid-foot sprain. Big Lakers-Pelicans game with Play-In ramifications.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 31, 2022
The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off another dud of a game in a season full of them, as they lost 128-110 on Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. That 18-point loss doesn’t do the game justice, as the Mavs held a 37-point lead at one point in the beginning of the 3rd quarter with the lead hovering around 25-30 for nearly all of that frame. Only in the 4th quarter when the Mavs pulled their foot off the gas a little were the Lakers able to trim the deficit slightly. And sure, the team did not have LeBron James or Anthony Davis to help them in that one, but just six days prior they almost beat a possible championship contender in the 76ers without both of those two superstars. And sadly, they will have to be forced to try and not look like a G-League team without those two again on Thursday in Utah against the Jazz.
But there is some good news to be had today. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Anthony Davis is trending towards being a game-time decision for Friday’s home game against his former team in the New Orleans Pelicans. Adding to that good news, it sounds like LeBron James will try to return after absences in the Mavs and Jazz game due to the gross-looking ankle sprain he suffered early in Sunday’s game against the Pelicans. Wojnarowski’s report lines up well with Chris Haynes’s report in the middle of the Mavs game.
James, out since Sunday with the left ankle sprain, returned to LA to rehab mid-week. Both James and Davis are out vs. Utah tonight. Lakers are 1/2 game ahead of Spurs for final play-in spot and trailing Pelicans for ninth by 1.5 games ahead of Friday's meeting in LA.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2022
The Lakers would be wildly fortunate to get both Davis and LeBron back for Friday’s game, as even one more absence from the two could ruin their chances at getting into the play-in tournament. They received some good fortune last night when the currently 11th-seeded Spurs lost to the Grizzlies after a game-winning, buzzer-beating layup rimmed out just at the last second. That game puts the Spurs just half a game behind the Lakers (the Spurs hold the tie-breaker).
After Friday’s game against the Pelicans, the Lakers play at home against the Nuggets, on the road against the Suns and Warriors, back at home against the Thunder, before closing the season on the road against the Nuggets again. The Spurs have a far easier end to their season, with the timing of the Lakers’ two superstars’ return possibly being the difference-maker in whether or not they’ll have any postseason to embark on.