Injury Updates: Davis, Ayton, Leonard, Noel

One downside to the Lakers‘ first win Sunday night was continuing back pain for Anthony Davis, writes Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. Davis, who had been listed as questionable for the game, was grimacing and limping around the court, Hernandez observed. Afterward, he admitted being in a “pretty good amount of pain.”

Davis sat out Friday’s game due to lower back tightness, and his health is a constant concern after playing a combined 76 games over the past two seasons. On Sunday, he told reporters that he doesn’t know what to expect regarding his back from day to day, adding, “It kind of just comes and goes.”

An eight-time All-Star, Davis is crucial to any success the Lakers hope to have this season. He’s averaging 23.8 points and 10.6 rebounds through five games, along with 2.4 steals and 2.0 blocks.

“AD’s impact is not only huge defensively, but also very efficient offensively, giving us possessions at the rim, knocking down the jumper, just all around very efficient tonight,” LeBron James said.

There’s more injury news to pass along:

  • The Suns are grateful that Deandre Ayton‘s sprained left ankle wasn’t more serious, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Ayton got hurt Friday when he landed on the foot of Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas after taking a jump shot. “When you look at the play, just one of those plays that should’ve been called a foul,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “Just kind of go from there, but for me, I’m just grateful it wasn’t worse. We will look at it in another week to make sure he’s ready to go.”  
  • Injury management continues for Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, according to Law Murray of The Athletic. Leonard sat out Sunday’s loss to the Pelicans to protect his surgically repaired right knee and won’t play tonight against the Rockets. He has only played twice this season, coming off the bench both times, and is averaging 12.5 minutes per game.
  • There’s a chance Nerlens Noel could make his debut with the Pistons tonight, tweets James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Jalen Duren didn’t travel with the team to Milwaukee after rolling his ankle in Sunday’s game, and Marvin Bagley III remains out with an MCL sprain. Coach Dwane Casey has said Noel, who is reconditioning after plantar fasciitis, might be available to play in an emergency.
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