Anthony Davis may have avoided the worst with his NBA Finals injury that many feared was a torn Achilles tendon, and is back on the court to help his team in what could be a close-out game.
The incident took place in the final minute of the first quarter, with the power forward appearing to land awkwardly after jumping for a rebound and limping before falling to the ground as he winced in pain. The Lakers medical staff attended to him immediately.
The placement of the injury, the fact that there did not appear to be any obvious impact before he went down, and the visible pain that Davis suffered led many to fear an Achilles tear, which could have potentially kept him out for more than a season. Those fears evaporated quickly, and Tim Reynolds reported that it may not have been so serious.The Associated Press reporter noted that the team provided an update after Davis was evaluated, saying that it appeared to be a much less serious ailment, raising the possibility that he could return at full strength.
"The Lakers say Anthony Davis got kicked and aggravated a bruised heel," he tweeted. "This conflicts with Twitter reports of a Achilles, ankle, knee, calf, concussion, toothache and subdural hematoma."
The bruised heel was likely especially painful because Davis has been nursing a heel contusion that has had him listed on the injury report throughout the NBA playoffs, tweeted Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet.Despite the scary moments and his obvious pain, Davis did not go to the locker room and was seen pacing the sidelines between the first and second quarter of Friday's contest, tweeted ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin.
He added that Davis was starting the second quarter on the bench, but others noted that he is available to return. The 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year did return to the court, and did not appear to have any obvious impact from the painful incident. He had 13 points at halftime, adding seven rebounds and two assists.
For many, the ailment initially appeared to be reminiscent of the one that Kevin Durant suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors star went down in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors, his first time back after being sidelined for more than a month with a strained right calf. Durant later underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles, and he missed the remainder of the series along with the entire 2020 season.
Losing Davis would have been devastating for the Lakers, as the big man has enjoyed a strong title series. He came into Friday's game averaging 25.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1 steal, and 1.8 blocks per game. Los Angeles was looking to close out the Finals, coming into the night with a 3-1 series lead thanks in large part to the play of Davis and LeBron James.