The Los Angeles Lakers have a daunting road trip starting on Jan. 28, but they reportedly are on track to receive a major boost before facing playoff contenders in five consecutive games away from home.
During a discussion with colleague Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported the plan is for Anthony Davis to return from his foot injury by then.
"Anthony Davis is, as we speak right now, potentially a week away from returning," McMenamin said. "He's going to continue the ramp-up process and go through a couple full-fledge practices full-court. And it'll be all about how his body responds the next day. But if everything continues to go the right way, he will be back playing for the Lakers next week in Crypto.com Arena and be with them for that entire road trip."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski corroborated the report:
The update comes after Mark Medina of NBA.com noted Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said Davis was "pretty much pain-free" following individual workouts.
The eight-time All-Star hasn't played since Dec. 16 and is once again missing significant time after appearing in 40 games in 2021-22 and 36 games in 2020-21. Injuries are simply an unfortunate reality about the Davis experience, but his talent will make Los Angeles far more dangerous when he does return.
He averaged 27.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals while shooting 59.4 percent from the field and 29.0 percent from deep through 25 games prior to the setback and was playing at an MVP level for stretches.
The Lakers have struggled to establish much consistency without him and are just 20-25 on the season. That is good enough for the No. 13 spot in the Western Conference standings, but they are still within striking distance at two games back of the No. 10 seed and play-in tournament position.
Los Angeles faces the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans during the five-game road trip.
All of them are playoff contenders, and Boston has the best record in the league at 34-12.
But that trip would be far less worrisome for the Purple and Gold if Davis is back and healthy.