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The Los Angeles Lakers have been without Anthony Davis for a full month, and his absence is beginning to take its toll. They've fallen five games below .500 and currently sit 13th in the Western Conference. Given their limited depth and the other injuries they're currently dealing with, the Lakers need Davis back on the floor as quickly as possible if they are hoping to secure a place in the postseason.

Fortunately, the news surrounding Davis and his recovery continues to be positive. Davis continues to make pain-free progress on his right foot and there's optimism of a return to the lineup as soon as late next week, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Davis has been ramping up activity recently, and the Lakers are hoping to have him back before the All-Star break, at least. 

The All-Star break will begin on Thursday, Feb. 16. A week earlier, another key date sits on the NBA calendar: the Feb. 9 trade deadline. In a perfect world, the Lakers would love to have him back before then so they could see what their whole, healthy team looks like before deciding whether or not to make a deal. Even if Davis returns after that, he could help integrate any new players the Lakers acquire if he makes it back before the All-Star break.

Davis was playing arguably the best basketball of his career before getting injured. He was averaging 27.4 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in leading the Lakers back from a 2-10 start into the play-in race. But after leading the Lakers for the first two months of the season, Davis suffered a stress injury in his foot. He also revealed that he is dealing with a bone spur that may have existed since his college days at Kentucky.

All told, the Lakers are likely going to be cautious. If a few missed games in February means a healthy Davis in April, the Lakers will likely take that tradeoff. Still, the news continues to be positive, so if he continues to recover as planned, don't be surprised to see Davis in a Lakers uniform sooner rather than later.