Monday, September 25

Anthony Davis badly rolls right ankle as Lakers rally to beat Jazz

Lakers center Anthony Davis rolled his right ankle late in the second quarter Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz and had to be helped off the Arena court by teammates.

The Lakers said Davis had a sprained right ankle, and that X-rays were negative for a fracture.

The team said Davis would get treatment on the ankle over the All-Star break that starts Thursday for the team and that he’ll be reevaluated when the team returns. The Lakers’ first game after this weekend’s All-Star break is Feb. 25, a home game against the Clippers.

On the play he was injured, Davis went up to catch a lob from Malik Monk. Davis caught the ball and came down on the heel of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Davis immediately collapsed in pain as his teammates stood over him with three minutes left in the second quarter. LeBron James stood nearby, a look of disbelief on his face.

But James didn’t remain discouraged, instead playing with a drive and determination in leading the Lakers to a stirring 106-101 win over the Jazz.

James scored 15 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter. And his sixth assist of the game was a pass to Austin Reaves for a three-pointer that gave the Lakers a 103-99 lead with 17.4 seconds left.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis would get an MRI on Thursday.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis shoots as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends.

Lakers forward Anthony Davis shoots as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends during the first half Wednesday at Arena.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“I saw him at halftime. I hated to see him in that fashion. Anytime you see him on crutches, that’s not a good sign,” James said. “The good thing is he’ll be a lot better when we come back [after the All-Star break] No matter where he is, he’ll be better a week from today. … Like I said, it’s an unfortunate play, unfortunate for him. He’ll be back obviously as soon as he can. But nothing to rush.”

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It was the 23rd straight game James has scored 25-plus points, tied with 76ers center Joel Embiid for the longest streak in the NBA this season. James played 39 minutes, 43 seconds.

“What we saw LeBron do was just remarkable,” Vogel said. “What he continues to do at this point of his career to take over the game in the fourth quarter the way he did with his energy and will and determination was really something special.”

As Davis rocked back and forth while sitting on the court writhing in pain, the cameras caught him screaming as he clutched the ankle.

A few minutes later, Davis wrapped his arms around the shoulders of teammates DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard, both of whom carried their fallen teammate to the locker room.

Davis left with 17 points on seven-for-nine shooting, two rebounds and two blocked shots.

He has already sat out 19 games this season because of a left knee sprain and one game because of right wrist soreness.

Now Davis and the Lakers must deal with this ankle injury that appeared serious from the way Davis reacted and having to leave the court with the help of others.

“He was just shaking his head bout really about the injury,” Vogel said about seeing Davis at halftime. “Just being frustrated about looking like he’s going to miss time again.”

The Lakers have a lot of work ahead of them after the All-Star break and might not have Davis around again for a while to help them.

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The Lakers are a floundering team that hasn’t met the lofty championship expectations put on them during their first 58 games.

The Lakers are 27-31 in the Western Conference standings, a position that puts them squarely in the NBA’s play-in game as the ninth seed.

The Lakers went down by 14 points in the second half but kept playing hard.

After James scored to pull the Lakers to within 94-91 with 3:17 left, he mean-mugged and flexed running down the court. Aaron Donald, who just won the Super Bowl with Rams on Sunday, stood and flexed as James ran by him.

“Win games until he [Davis] comes back. That simple,” Vogel said. “You can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We don’t know obviously how long it will be, but we got to win as many as we can down the stretch and believe in the group that we have.”

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