DALLAS (AP) — Anthony Davis is still on track to end the longest absence of the eight-time All-Star’s NBA career as the Los Angeles Lakers open a four-game road trip with the first of two in Dallas.
The Lakers star was on the court for pregame workouts Thursday night, and coach Frank Vogel said he expects Davis to start and play all of his 15 planned minutes in the first half.
LA plays the Mavericks again Saturday night. Fellow star LeBron James is still at least a couple of weeks of returning from an ankle injury.
Davis has missed 30 games with right calf and heel issues. His previous game was Feb. 14 at Denver, when Davis played just 14 minutes in a 122-105 loss that started a slide of five losses in six games.
“He’s going to need his get his legs under him as to be expected,” Vogel said. “You can’t simulate NBA action. That’s what tonight’s going to be about. That’s what the next few games are going to be about. This is an important first step for sure.”
The Lakers are 14-16 since Davis last played, and the defending NBA champions are fifth in the Western Conference. LA started the night three games out of fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The 28-year-old who’s in his ninth season has said he was worried about tearing his right Achilles tendon, which was part of the reason he was shut down and has been out for so long. The Lakers wanted to make sure their star was completely healthy.
Davis is averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. James has been out since March 20. The Lakers are 7-9 since both stars were sidelined.