LOS ANGELES — Lakers forward Anthony Davis is questionable for Game 5 of L.A.’s first-round series with the Phoenix Suns after an MRI on Monday confirmed a strained groin for the eight-time All-Star, coach Frank Vogel said.
There’s pessimism surrounding Davis’ availability for Tuesday’s game, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A return for a Game 6 on Thursday is possible.
Davis already pushed through a sprained left knee to start on Sunday, telling reporters before that game there was “no chance” he would miss it. However, the groin injury forced him out at halftime. He finished with just six points on 2-of-9 shooting in 19 minutes.
Vogel said on a videoconference call Monday that Davis has the same determination for Game 5, with the series tied 2-2.
“I mean, these guys, they’re great competitors. They’re always going to say, ‘I’m ignoring this. I’m going to be in there.’ So, we’ll just see,” Vogel said. “That’s what his mindset is, like any competitor, but we’ll see what the groin feels like [Tuesday] and we’ll make a smart decision. But he’s in good spirits.”
Davis will fly with the team to Phoenix on Monday afternoon and receive overnight treatment on the groin, according to Vogel.
Kyle Kuzma started the second half of Game 4 in Davis’ place, but Vogel would not confirm whether Kuzma would get the same assignment Tuesday should Davis sit.
“You think I’m going to give you the direction I’m going to go?” Vogel said with a laugh. “I’m not going to give you the direction I’m going to go in Game 5.”
Lakers forward Markieff Morris, who has received a DNP in six of the Lakers’ past 10 games — and has logged just 12 minutes total in the series — hinted on Twitter that he could have his number called on Tuesday.
— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) May 31, 2021
The coach did reveal one part of his lineup, however, saying the Lakers were “hopeful” that starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would play Tuesday after a sore left knee kept him out of Game 4.
Caldwell-Pope, who said he was feeling “much better” since Suns guard Devin Booker made inadvertent contact with his left leg in Game 3, addressed the challenge of potentially playing without Davis.
“We know he was a big key to the offense and defense, and we got to pick up the slack,” he said.
Indeed, in the Lakers’ two wins against the Suns this series, Davis averaged 34 points on 48.6% shooting, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 blocks. In L.A.’s two losses, Davis averaged 9.5 points on 28% shooting, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks.
“Certainly our identity shifts if Anthony’s not in there but it’s not unprecedented for us,” said Vogel, alluding to L.A.’s 11-7 record when LeBron James played without Davis in the lineup this season. “We played a large chunk of our season without him and hopefully we can grow on some of those experiences to see how we have to shift.”