Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will miss an estimated four weeks due to a calf strain suffered in Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters following their game on Thursday night. The initial prognosis called for him to be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks, but his absence will be slightly longer after being evaluated by team doctors. He also re-aggravated the Achilles tendinosis that kept him out earlier last week, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The play itself occurred in the second quarter on Sunday when Davis tried to drive to the basket but was cut off and fouled by Nikola Jokic.
After the whistle, Davis hobbled back behind the basket and reached for his Achilles. He was able to make his way to the line but was grimacing and looked to be in serious pain while shooting his free throws. When the Nuggets inbounded the ball, he didn't make any effort whatsoever to move and had the Lakers take a foul to stop play so he could leave the game and head to the locker room.
Last week, Davis missed two games because of that Achilles tendinosis and told reporters he was trying to be as careful as possible because of the risk involved with that infamous body part:
"I think every other game ... I've wanted to play in. This is just a different circumstance with it being an Achilles. If it was a quad or finger, anything like that, I wouldn't mind playing. But I just don't really want to play around with an Achilles. Today was the first day we were able to practice, get some run-in with some guys to really test it out."
"I just don't want to play a game where I still feel it and then get hurt and now I'm out for the playoffs or whatever or for multiple weeks, where it's something I can't control and maintain right now where you miss two games or three games early on in the season or midseason and be ready to go for the rest of the season."
Davis will now sit through beyond the All-Star break, an inopportune time for the Lakers as they are about to embark upon one of the most difficult stretches on their schedule. They have seven games remaining on their first-half schedule, and five of them are against the Heat, Jazz, Blazers, Warriors and Suns.
But so far this season, the Lakers are 5-2 in games Davis has missed. That has been thanks in large part to LeBron James, who is mounting a strong MVP campaign in leading the Lakers despite Davis' early-season injuries and struggles. If he can keep the team afloat with Davis for the next several weeks, his candidacy will only be strengthened, and so will the team's hopes of repeating as the Western Conference's No. 1 seed.