Los Angeles Lakers optimistic Anthony Davis returns during end-of-month road trip

LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis took part in individual practice on the court Friday, four weeks to the day he sprained the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. There is optimism within the Los Angeles Lakers organization that the star big man could return to game action at some point during the long road trip from Los Angeles at the end of the month, sources told ESPN.

Davis will be officially re-evaluated by team doctors early next week, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

He suffered the injury on December 17 when Jaden McDaniels of the Minnesota Timberwolves collapsed in his left knee. An MRI administered the following day revealed the sprain.

Davis, who missed 36 of the Lakers’ 72 regular-season games last season due to various injuries, said he was in “good spirits” immediately after the diagnosis because things could have been worse.

“I just think this is another trip to get my mind and body in order,” Davis said Dec. 19. “So, use this time to be completely healthy and come back better than ever.”

Davis has missed the Lakers’ last 12 games and the team went 5-7 in that stretch.

LA has three more games: at Denver on Saturday, at home against Utah on Monday and at home against Indiana on Wednesday, before its six-game Grammy Awards tour kicks off in Orlando next Friday.

Davis has been practicing with a bulky brace on his left knee, but has been “moving well” during his workouts, sources told ESPN.

The 10-year veteran was averaging 23.3 points on 52.1% shooting, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season before the injury. His jump shot, however, had missed. Davis is shooting just 60-for-185 (32%) on shots outside the paint this season, according to NBA.com.

LeBron James has stepped up in his absence, scoring 30-plus points in 11 of his last 12 games to tie Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant at 0.6 points per game as the league’s leading scorer, but the wins haven’t followed.

The Lakers have lost two in a row, their most recent disappointment coming in a 125-117 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Vogel said LA had a “lively” movie session on Friday to address the loss in Sacramento before the team’s flight to Denver.

“All the Kings game breakdowns,” Vogel said when asked what the filming session entailed. “I lost 70 points in the paint. You’re not going to win if you do that. So I took them all out and showed all the ways they can be better.”

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