Anthony Davis was ruled out of the remainder of Game 4 of the first-round series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns with a left groin strain suffered in the second quarter, and his time on the sideline will likely extend for at least one more game. Davis is considered day-to-day with that groin strain, but the Lakers have ruled him out for Game 5. Starting in his place will be Markieff Morris. However, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports there is optimism within the Lakers' organization that Davis' status could improve as the series moves forward.
Davis played through a hyperextended right knee that he suffered in the second half of Game 3 against the Suns. The injury occurred late in the first half. Davis went up for a layup but immediately fell to the ground clutching his leg. He stayed on the floor at that point, but when he went back to the locker room for halftime, he never returned and was ultimately ruled out shortly thereafter.
"He's undergoing further medical evaluation and we'll have more information tomorrow," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game. Vogel cited Davis' knee injury as well, praising his big man for trying to play anyway. "He was saying that his knee was sore, but that there was no way he was not going to play," Vogel said. "I thought he gave a heck of a run at it trying to compete through pain."
Davis had been absolutely dominant in Games 2 and 3, averaging 34 points and 10.5 rebounds in the Lakers' two wins in this series. In Game 4, however, he had only six points on nine shots as he dealt with that hyperextended knee. Davis has fought through injuries all season long for the Lakers, appearing in only 36 of a possible 72 games for them due to issues with his calf and Achilles tendon.
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The Lakers cannot win a championship without a healthy Davis. It's as simple as that. They still need to win two more games against Phoenix just to escape this first-round series, and if Davis isn't healthy enough to help them do that, they're going to have to lean even more heavily on LeBron James to carry the load on offense. He himself is still recovering from a high-ankle sprain, and starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was already out with an injury of his own. Throw in Chris Paul's shoulder and this series has been defined almost entirely by injuries. It's a sad state of affairs for what should have been one of the best matchups of the postseason.