Perspective Is Anthony Davis healthy The question once again.jpgw1440

Perspective | Is Anthony Davis healthy? The question once again hovers over the NBA. – The Washington Post

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You can never stop worrying about Anthony Davis. The experience of watching him play basketball is akin to the dread of seeing a boisterous 16-year-old behind the wheel. Everywhere he goes on the pitch, people wonder about his safety.

The main series of this unpredictable NBA postseason has entered a critical phase, and on cue, tragedy struck Davis, the beautiful but snake-bitten big man of the Los Angeles Lakers. He accidentally injured his elbow while wrestling under the basket on Wednesday night, resulting in a head injury that left him so dazed that he briefly needed a wheelchair. Despite the fear, coach Darvin Ham concluded Thursday that Davis “likely” will play in Friday’s crucial Game 6 against the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles, noting that his star doesn’t appear on the concussion logs. The Lakers lead the series 3-2 as health concerns remain in these playoffs, which saw far too many star injuries in the first two rounds.

It was a random hit at the worst possible time, something that could happen to any player. Unfortunately, it’s only the latest in a long list of ailments for Davis. While he didn’t suffer a career-threatening injury, Davis has crashed so many times — and for so many different reasons — that almost every collision makes you hold your breath. It’s hard to remember the last game that matters in which Davis persevered without a moment of concern.

It’s breathtaking to see some athletes. Some are so unlucky that you hold your breath. Davis can do both with the same possession.

Analysis: Anthony Davis suffers a head injury and the Lakers hold their breath

Davis plays with an awkward agility. He was a late teenage boy who experienced a late growth spurt, so at 6’1″ and weighing 253 pounds, he’s remarkably agile. But he doesn’t seem to have the strength and balance to support his style of play.

He falls. He lashes out. He makes a face. It infuriates the fanatics and provocateurs. But anyone who thinks Davis is soft or uninterested in maximizing his skills is mischaracterizing him. He is an avid two-way player, competing and influencing the game in a variety of ways. He’s not as physical as Giannis Antetokounmpo, a superstar power forward of similar height and weight who plays with much more power. But in his own way, Davis plays just as hard as the Greek Freak. They’re two of the game’s great swappable defensive anchors, and at his best, Davis is the more disruptive presence with his elite rim protection and general attention.

Davis, 30, was drafted a year earlier than Antetokounmpo, and his 11 NBA seasons plus collegiate national title and Kentucky Player of the Year honors make him an easy pick for the Hall of Fame. But the injuries add to a lot of what-ifs. in his career and although his birth certificate suggests he still has some good years ahead, there are concerns as to whether his body will keep up.

Davis has played 660 regular-season games in his career. Another standout in the 2012 draft class, Damian Lillard, played 769. And you can’t explain away the difference as Davis suffers from more playoff wear and tear. Lillard has played in 61 postseason games. Even after helping the Lakers win a championship in 2020, Davis has played 50.

Lillard, now 30, has lost 77 games to injuries over the past two seasons but was still available for 109 more games than Davis. Bradley Beal, a 2012 draftee who missed a lot of time, has 35 more games to play.

In 2021, Davis was a worthy honoree on the NBA’s 75th anniversary team. LeBron James recently touted Davis as a star whose Lakers jersey will one day be retired. Davis’ career has been so good, even though he missed at least 10 games in nine of 11 seasons and missed at least 15 games in all but four seasons. Since the Lakers emerged from the bubble with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Davis has only been available for 132 of a possible 236 regular-season games. He missed 26 times this season, mainly due to a right foot injury. He has also spent much of his career treating conditions in the knees, ankles, ribs, wrist, back, thumb, thigh, shoulder, calf, adductors, quadriceps, heel, fingers, hip and groin. His pain story is an anatomy lesson.

To his credit, Davis always comes back with the best of intentions. He covers up all of the Lakers’ defensive deficiencies on his return, and despite some offensive inconsistencies, he produces an impact that allows 38-year-old James to conserve his energy and pick the right attacking moments. There’s no denying that James is the heart of the Lakers, but Davis acts as a protective layer that keeps it working properly.

James is one of the great closeout artists in sports. He has led 17 teams to a 3-1 series lead; all advanced. His sense of the moment is incredible and he rarely lives up to it. But the Warriors, who have an 8-2 record under coach Steve Kerr before elimination, seem to sleep easier when they’re behind. They cut the deficit to 3-2 on Wednesday, and as the pressure shifts to the Lakers to end the series at the Arena on Friday, it will take more than James’ size to knock out the four-time NBA champion .

The basketball world, on the other hand, is waiting to see if Davis can get up and play well. If he continues to avoid following concussion protocols, it will be either a miracle or a circumvention of textbook precautions. You just hope he’s okay.

If Davis actually plays, the exam will go beyond the norm. However, it will be nothing new for him. That’s his life in basketball. He moves about the pitch as he pleases, but he probably needs a few Danger Ahead signs on his way.

He may have avoided a concussion that will change season after season, but with Davis, the next scary incident is always just a stone’s throw away. It’s a stressful experience. Despite what he’s accomplished with his cheat code talent, one has to pray that his body isn’t cheating on him.