AD injury (right foot) shows encouraging progress

ATLANTA – Reluctant to build outside expectations around his return date, but clearly heartened by the progress he’s made so far, Los Angeles Lakers star power forward, Anthony Davisspoke to reporters on Friday for the first time since suffering a stress injury to his right foot two weeks ago.

“I feel a lot better, the pain has decreased tremendously,” Davis told a small group of Los Angeles reporters before the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks. “I think the next step is healing [del pie] at this time. I don’t want to talk about schedules because that’s a completely different thing, but it’s healing pretty quickly.”

“Then when we get back to Los Angeles, we’ll have another picture of the foot and see how healed it is.”

Davis detailed the complex injury he is dealing with. A bone spur fractured in the navicular bone of the right foot. That same navicular bone, found on the top of the foot between the ankle and toes, has a stress reaction that first appeared in a game against the Denver Nuggets on December 16 when he collided with Nikola Jokic in the paint.

“That move, I guess that caused it,” Davis said. “So when I went to get an X-ray at half time, it was bothering me, it was so painful.”

The injury was identified before it could get worse. “The stress reaction (can lead to) a stress fracture, and that’s a whole different problem,” Davis said.

The pain was initially recorded as nine out of 10, according to Davis. In the weeks that have passed, that number has dwindled to one or two.

Davis said he had an MRI on his foot on Dec. 22 and the Lakers shared the images with five doctors and specialists to determine a recovery plan. One option available to him would be to undergo a procedure to remove the bone spur. A doctor assumed the spur had been present on his foot since his undergraduate days at the University of Kentucky more than a decade ago, but it simply hadn’t caused him any trouble.

“I don’t like surgery,” Davis said. “I feel like if it can be avoided, then let’s avoid it.”

Eschewing the surgical route, Davis and the Lakers’ medical staff opted for a process that will take time to rest and recover and then speed toward a return.

How much time will it take? That remains to be seen. Davis will undergo another MRI when the team returns to Los Angeles next week and if he comes out clean he will begin treatment for the injury, including shock wave therapy and bone stimulation.

Even if Davis is able to return to the court to finish out the 2022-23 season with the Lakers, he knows surgery could be necessary down the road.

“Something to consider, in the offseason, to remove [el espolón óseo]”He said. “However, I think the most important thing is the reaction to stress, just monitoring that. Because that can definitely take six, seven, eight months, which I’d rather take four weeks than seven months. I’m not saying ‘I’ll be back in four weeks, but hopefully.”

The injury interrupted a brilliant comeback season for Davis in which he averaged 27.4 points while posting top rebounds per game (12.1) and field goal percentage (59.4%), along with 2.1 blocks per night.

This, after Davis missed more than half of the Lakers’ games in the last two seasons due to various injuries, of course.

“It was tough mentally for me just because of the fact that I came out last year with injuries and had the mindset to get back to who I want to be as a player, in that mold,” Davis said. “For something like that to happen was mentally difficult.”

However, for now, there is reason for cautious optimism.

“It’s going in the right direction,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “Everything he’s been asked to do he has done and continues to do. We all feel comfortable, starting with our medical staff.”

Davis is eager to pick up where he left off.

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AD injury (right foot) shows encouraging progress