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Anthony Davis’ Quest To Play All 82 Games Has Come To An End After Four Games

Coming into the season, Anthony Davis made a public declaration that his personal goal was to play all 82 games this season for the Lakers, understanding that his absences for various injuries played a big role in the team missing the playoffs last year.

Davis bulked up some this offseason in hopes of being able to handle the wear and tear of the full season, particularly as he took on the challenge of playing center more regularly for the Lakers, but it took just over a week for Davis to suffer his first injury of the 2022-23 season and see his season-long goal of starting every game come to an end. On Friday night, Davis will sit out against the Minnesota Timberwolves with lower back tightness, after he grabbed at his lower back in L.A.’s most recent loss to the Nuggets after a dunk.

Davis has dealt with a variety of injuries in his career and has not played in more than 62 games in a season since 2016-17 while a member of the Pelicans (where he played 75 in back-to-back years). For the immediate, it’s a significant loss for the Lakers particularly when considering their opponent boasts a pair of All-NBA centers in Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, so there aren’t too many teams you’d rather face less without your star big man. On top of that, it likely means Russell Westbrook stays in the starting lineup after the Lakers had initially planned on having him come off the bench if Davis could start, further delaying their attempt at kickstarting Westbrook and their bench unit together.

From a long-term perspective, Davis’ goal of 82 games always felt a bit too ambitious, as very few players reach that number, but there’s no doubt his presence is needed for L.A. to have any chance at turning things around after an 0-4 start. Cresting 70 games would be a considerable achievement, but after Friday that would mean just 11 more absences from the lineup all season.