The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a playoff run that has many NBA fans surprised.
Following a mediocre, injury riddled regular season, Los Angeles snuck into the NBA playoffs via the play-in tournament. They then easily dispatched of the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in six games before taking a surprising 3-1 series lead on the Golden State Warriors.
But now it may be on the verge of all falling apart.
Superstar big man Anthony Davis has been excellent in the postseason. Davis is averaging 21.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game over the two series according to StatMuse.
But in LA’s Game 5 loss to the Warriors, Davis was forced to leave the game early after catching an elbow to the head from Golden State’s Kevon Looney.
Davis reportedly felt woozy and was eventually taken off the court in a wheelchair, a fact that Inside the NBA hosts Shaquille O’Neal and Charley Barkley then mocked. Their mockery drew the ire of fans.
Should Davis miss Game 6, or perhaps a potential Game 7 as well, things get a lot more difficult for the Lakers.
But not all hope is lost.
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT reported Thursday morning that Davis is expected to play in Game 6.
Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis (head injury) is expected to be available for Game 6 on Friday barring a setback, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 11, 2023
The news surprised fans who expected Davis to miss more time with a concussion.
Therein lies the the catch.
The Lakers have not actually called Davis’ injury a concussion, despite symptoms that appear to indicate that. LA Times beat reporter Dan Woike noted that the team was “intentionally vague” regarding its language surrounding Davis’ injury.
To be clear, the Lakers wouldn’t even specifically say that Anthony Davis was evaluated for a concussion last night. They were, seemingly, intentionally vague.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 11, 2023
That sparked fans to believe that LA could be covering up a potential concussion in order to get Davis back in the lineup.
So they can skirt the leagues rules on concussions to play Game 6…
— Jeff (@jeffjeff360) May 11, 2023
Is Los Angeles @Lakers center Anthony Davis health more important than not using the word concussion so he can play in game 6. Should the Lakers believe in the rest of the team to win without him? @espn@FirstTake pic.twitter.com/Y4jC1db9bs
— PAFT/Juan Marshall (@ProAmFightTalk) May 11, 2023
They need to be
Otherwise, CBA protocols kick in
— loco lolo (@falcundo) May 11, 2023
Some even compared the situation to that of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“Lakers medical staff says Anthony Davis has avoided a concussion and is cleared to play Game 6 on Friday” pic.twitter.com/47Fd23gUOB
— J. (@NotJuansBurner) May 11, 2023
We just saw this with Tua in the NFL. AD definitely got a concussion, the lakers can play him for game 6 if they want but that would be a mistake!! #NBAPlayoff #LakersVsWarriors
— Latrez McClam ☄️☄️ (@latrez_brain) May 11, 2023
Davis must enter the NBA’s concussion protocol if the team determines he did, in fact, suffer a concussion.
The NBA’s polict outlines the steps required for a player to return to participation. Within these steps is an exertion process of physical activity, which a player cannot begin until 24 hours after sustaining the concussion.
With Game 6 set for 10 p.m. ET on Friday, May 12, it’s hard to see how Davis would be able to play if diagnosed with a concussion.
Though if he does not have a concussion, or if one is not diagnosed, the policy does not apply.
Either way, the Lakers have a major decision to make regarding the superstar.