The Los Angeles Lakers could get Anthony Davis back in the lineup as early as tonight against the Brooklyn Nets after he missed the last 17 games with a knee injury.

Anthony Davis knee injury returns LA Lakers Nets
Anthony Davis working out with the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the Miami Heat game pm Sunday, but he was not yet ready to return from a knee injury until this week. (Image: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty)

Davis went down with a sprained knee in mid-December during a freak play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers got lucky with Davis and it was not a serious injury like a torn ACL, but just an MCL sprain. The team expected him to miss four to six weeks, so the timetable is accurate. Davis had been working out with the Lakers prior to their road trip. The Lakers upgraded him from doubtful to probable for tonight’s game against the Nets.

Davis averages 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game for the Lakers this season. Without Davis in the lineup, the Lakers went 7-10 and have been in a tailspin. With a 23-24 record, the Lakers fell into the #8 playoff seed in the Western Conference. if the season were to end today, the Lakers would head to the play-in tournament.

AD Return Saves Vogel?

The Lakers will gain huge boost in confidence and get much-needed help on defense as soon as Davis steps back onto the court. Davis is one of the NBA’s elite two-way players.

“Any time you get a talent like AD that comes back to the lineup, it boosts our team, not only physically, mentally, spiritually, everything,” said LeBron James. “You get a big-time player like that on both sides of the floor so it’s no pressure when he decides he’s ready or when the doctors and his staff tell him he’s ready. We look forward to when he’s in the uniform again with us.”

“Whenever you get a player like AD back, it definitely changes your team,” added Russell Westbrook. “Not just on the offensive side but defensive side. He does things that people can’t do at his size. It definitely gives the team a boost to see everybody on the floor.”

Davis’ return could also save head coach Frank Vogel’s job if the Lakers get back on track and start trending upward.

Things got so bad in Hollywood the last couple of weeks that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss almost fired Vogel. The Lakers were blown out by 37 points against the Denver Nuggets in a game in which the team completely gave up. The Lakers scrambled and had a backup plan to install assistant coach David Fizdale as the interim head coach if Vogel did not quickly turn the team around.

However, it’s really not Vogel’s fault that the Lakers lost Davis to an injury and that the acquisition of Westbrook backfired. Westbrook played so bad and makes too much money to trade him. It’s obvious that Vogel would become the scapegoat in this instance.

Davis News Moves Lakers/Nets Line

Oddsmakers anticipated the return of Davis after bettors jumped on the Lakers when the line opened at -2.5 with the Lakers a favorite and the Nets as a home dog.

The line jumped to -3.5 with steady flow of money backing the Lakers. The Nets are short-handed.

Kevin Durant is out with an MCL sprain, and a similar knee injury to what happened to Davis. Kyrie Irving is out because he does not play home games at Barclay’s Center as part of a New York City health mandate. So, it’s just James Harden representing one-third of their Big 3 tonight against the Lakers.

Right now, the Nets are still the consensus favorite to win the NBA championship at +250 odds according to DraftKings. The Lakers saw their title odds tank in recent weeks. You can back the Lakers at +1600 odds to win the title this year, but they were +900 to win just before the Davis injury.