Lakers' Anthony Davis Says LeBron James Will Be 'Fine' After Ankle Injury Return

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) grabs a rebound next to Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Despite LeBron James' return from a high ankle sprain lasting only two games before he was back on the shelf, Anthony Davis is confident James can play at a high level once he is back to full health.

"What I saw from LeBron today, he'll be fine. He'll be fine," Davis told reporters after the Lakers' 123-110 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. 

James worked out prior to the game and was on the bench cheering on Davis as he scored a season-high 42 points in a critical win for the Lakers, who are attempting to avoid the play-in game. No timetable has been given for LeBron returning to game action, though it feels likely he'll at least attempt to come back before the end of the regular season May 16.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that James' ankle is "not going to get a lot better" in the near future. His status may be a matter of pain management and present James with the biggest challenge he's faced at the NBA level.

The 36-year-old has been remarkably healthy throughout his career, with this being only the second time in 18 years that he's missed more than 15 games. The first came in 2018-19, when James eventually shut himself down rather than attempt to play through a nagging groin injury. 

There will be no shutdown this time around, as James and the Lakers are determined to fight through their adverse circumstances to defend their NBA championship. James seemed pessimistic about his injury status when asked during his brief return at the end of April. 

"It's been urgency for me to get back ever since I got injured. So that's just who I am," James said. "You guys could have seen the logging of the minutes and hours per day that I was doing as far as rehab and treatment, it was a lot more than I slept. So over the last six weeks, that's all I've been doing, is having an urgency to get back and play. I knew I wasn't going to get back to 100 percent. It's impossible. I don't think I will ever get back to 100 percent in my career."

Given how in tune James is with his body, that type of pessimism should lead to some handwringing for the Lakers heading into what could be a short play-in postseason stint.