Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis has been out since Dec. 17 after suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee, and after more than a month out, he is finally closing in on a return. On Monday afternoon, the Lakers upgraded Davis to probable for Tuesday's game at the Brooklyn Nets. Shortly before Tuesday night's tilt at Barclays Center, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported Davis would return to the Lakers' lineup on a minutes restriction. While Frank Vogel would not say Davis will be on a hard minutes restriction, the Lakers' coach did say they would try to "be responsible" when it comes to Davis' workload in his return.
Davis' return will be a major boost for the Lakers, who currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record, as the team has struggled mightily in his absence. In his 10th NBA season, Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and two blocks per game, though he's shooting just 18 percent from 3-point range -- his lowest mark since the 2014-15 season.
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While L.A.'s offense has sustained itself due to an MVP-caliber performance from LeBron James and the emergence of role players such as Malik Monk, the defense has suffered greatly in Davis' latest stint on the injured list. His versatility and rim protection have both been missed.
With Russell Westbrook's name amid a horrific shooting slump and James being pushed to his limits in his 19th NBA season, Davis will be a welcome re-addition to a Lakers team hoping to live up to its status as preseason favorites after a disappointing first half of the year.