“My ankle is fine”, Davis told reporters after game 4. “I have tonight, tomorrow, before the game to get him back to where he is, but it’s good enough to play. I did it badly enough, but not too badly. I’m fine. ”
Having Davis available for Game 5 will be absolutely essential for the Lakers if they hope to complete the Western Conference Finals on Saturday. Davis is averaging 28.9 points per game on just under 58% of playoff shots while playing stellar defense and giving the Lakers 9.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. If the Lakers won the championship, those numbers would be some of the best a superstar has ever released on their way to the title.
But there is a big difference between “good” and “healthy”. The Lakers will likely have Davis on the floor for Game 5, but if it’s a compromised version of him, it puts them in trouble against a Nuggets team that has already overcome two 3-1 playoff deficits. Davis finished a go-oop the next trip to the floor for the Lakers after sustaining the injury, but only scored on two free throws after that. His defense remained strong, but whether it will be for a full 48 minutes in Game 5 is another question. Without a third star on this list, the Lakers need Davis and LeBron James at their best to win the championship.
But given their 3-1 lead, the Lakers have a bit of leeway in dealing with Davis’ injury. If they need to limit his minutes at all in Game 5, they could get away in a way that a tied series wouldn’t allow. The Lakers are hoping he’s at full strength on Saturday, but even if he’s not, they have three chances of reaching the final. They are in good shape to move forward, as long as Davis is in good health eventually.