This is another step in the right direction for Davis and the Lakers, who had upgraded the forward to questionable and a game-time decision for their game Sunday at Miami. But Davis didn’t play against the Heat.
He has been out since he sprained a right knee ligament Dec. 17 at Minnesota.
The Lakers said Davis would be re-evaluated in four weeks after the injury, but it turned out that they were more cautious with him.
“Any time you get a talent like that that comes back to the lineup, it boosts our team, not only physically, mentally, spiritually, everything,” LeBron James said after the Lakers lost in Miami. “You get a big-time player like that on both sides of the floor so it’s no pressure when he decides he’s ready or when the doctors and his staff tell him he’s ready. But we look forward to when he’s in the uniform again with us.”
Davis worked out before the Lakers played at Orlando on Friday night, leaving coach Frank Vogel to say, “he felt good with his work.” Davis worked out again Sunday in Miami and was supposed to work out again before the Lakers play the Nets.
“It’s tough to find practice time and practice bodies,” Vogel said Sunday night. “But it’s been really intense work with the coaches and some of the coaching assistants that will get out there and bang with him.”
When Davis does return, Vogel was asked if he would place him on a minutes restriction.
“I don’t know that yet,” Vogel said. “And tomorrow he’s gonna get some work in, and we’ll see how his body is responding at that point in time.”
The Lakers are 7-10 with Davis out, their loss to the Heat another reminder that they need his defensive presence.
“Whenever you get a player like AD back, it definitely changes your team,” guard Russell Westbrook said Sunday night. “Not just on the offensive side but defensive side. He’s able to do things that people can’t do at his size. It definitely gives the team a boost to get to see everybody on the floor — hopefully as we move forward towards the tail end of the season.”
Davis was injured when Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who was shoved by a cutting James, stumbled into Davis’ leg. Davis fell awkwardly to the court and immediately grabbed his knee.
Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.
“A player of AD’s caliber, it’s always good to have him on your team,” guard Avery Bradley said Sunday. “We can’t wait until he comes back. Hopefully he can bring that energy on both ends of the floor for us. I know that he’s more than capable of doing that.
“We just have to make sure we put him in great situations. Hopefully he can be that anchor for us on the defensive end and, like you said, we can turn this season around, because we have all the players, we have a great coaching staff. It’s just our job to go out there and make sure to execute every single night, and we’re not doing that consistent enough.”
When: 4:30 p.m. PST, Tuesday
On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, TNT; 710, 1330.
Update: James Harden, who is third on the team in scoring (22.7), leads the Nets in assists (10.1), rebounds (8.0) and steals (1.3). The Nets are ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 112.2 points, and second in field-goal percentage (47.4%).