Anthony Davis has been the catalyst behind the surprising success the Los Angeles Lakers have enjoyed during the postseason. After helping the Lakers sneak into the playoffs through the play-in round, he led the way with a dominant first-round series defensively against the Memphis Grizzlies, and his rim protection stifled the Golden State Warriors through most of the first four games of their second-round series. All of this means it is a massive relief for the Lakers that Davis is, according to Turner Sports' Chris Haynes, expected to play in Game 6 against the Warriors on Friday, barring any setbacks.
In the fourth quarter of Game 5 on Wednesday, Davis was hit in the head by the forearm of Warriors big man Kevon Looney on a D'Angelo Russell layup attempt. He left the game and immediately, and according to Haynes, needed to be escorted away in a wheelchair for further evaluation.
Here's a look at the play:
Lakers coach Darvin Ham was positive after the game, but did not offer any specifics. "He took a shot to the head," Ham said. "He seems to be doing really good already. That's where he's at and the status of it right now."
"I believe he'll play [Friday]," Lakers guard Austin Reaves said, via ESPN's Dave McMenamin, who reported that Davis felt "woozy" but was not immediately diagnosed with a concussion:
Davis was initially evaluated on the Lakers' bench by athletic trainer Jon Ishop before retreating to the back of the arena for further medical attention.
Davis was placed in a wheelchair and carted to a training room after feeling "woozy," a source told ESPN. However, Davis was able to leave the arena at the end of the night walking to the team bus without any assistance.
There was no mention of a concussion after an initial evaluation of Davis, a source close to the Lakers center told ESPN.
ESPN also reported that Davis' parents visited him in the training room, as did Lakers executive Rob Pelinka and Davis' agent, Rich Paul.
In the event that Davis was diagnosed with a concussion, the NBA has firm protocols that would make a return in time for Game 6 questionable.
"A player diagnosed with a concussion should be regularly monitored for 24 hours for the evolution of symptoms, and accordingly the player may not begin the return-to-participation exertion process until 24 hours after the time of injury," the league's concussion protocol reads. For a player to return from a concussion, the following criteria must be met:
- He must be without concussion symptoms at rest.
- He must be evaluated by a physician.
- He must have successfully completed the NBA return-to-participation exertion process.
- The team physician must have discussed the return-to-participation process with the director of the NBA's concussion program.
For now, the exact nature of the injury Davis suffered has not been disclosed.