Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis is getting closer to returning from a tailbone injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the last three games.
Davis is listed as questionable for the Lakers' Wednesday home game against the Orlando Magic, per Spectrum SportsNet Lakers analyst Mike Bresnahan. While his playing status is still to be determined, he hasn't done any sprints or participated in contact drills—usually a sign of a player's impending return—though he told Spectrum SportsNet's Mike Trudell he is "progressing very well" in his rehab.
The center injured himself after landing awkwardly on his backside against the New York Knicks last Tuesday.
Davis told reporters he's mostly done some light shooting as he prepares to return. Sprinting and contact drills will be the next hurdle before he's cleared to play. One piece of good news here is that all tests came back negative and AD will be able to return when he feels ready.
There's no question how important the center is to the Lakers' success. The six-time All-Star is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 blocks per game on a Los Angeles team that's leading the Western Conference by 5.5 games as of Tuesday afternoon.
Not that the Lakers haven't been able to weather his current injury status. L.A. is on a league-leading nine-game winning streak thanks to a dip in the schedule that's pitted the banged-up title contender against the likes of Detroit, Cleveland, Phoenix, New Orleans and the Knicks. Not exactly the NBA's most threatening opponents.
Even if Davis isn't able to go for Wednesday night's matchup with Orlando, it's still imperative to get him back healthy as soon as possible. Los Angeles starts an eight-day, five-game road trip in Houston on Saturday before flying out to the East Coast to face Boston, New York, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. There isn't a "must-win" game for the Lakers right now, but showing up on the road against some of the Eastern Conference contenders is a solid litmus test for the second half of the season.
That's especially true as the February 6 trade deadline rapidly approaches. The Lakers should be spending the next few weeks tinkering with their roster and gearing up for a playoff run.
They need Davis healthy to make that happen.