OKLAHOMA CITY — Anthony Davis will not play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday because of the right foot stress injury that already caused him to miss a chunk of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers announced.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham called it a “precautionary” measure during his pregame remarks at Paycom Center.
“He’s frustrated as hell,” Ham said of Davis’ handling of the franchise’s decision to hold him out. “He wants to be out there, but he also understands the process of us managing his foot the right way. … It’s just something we’re monitoring that we want to be extra careful and cautious about.”
Already depleted thanks to a right foot injury for LeBron James and a right ankle sprain for D’Angelo Russell, L.A. (29-33) is looking to rebuild momentum against the Thunder (28-33) after a 121-109 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Davis missed 20 straight games because of his right foot from mid-December until late January. The Lakers have played only one back-to-back since Davis’ return prior to this Grizzlies-Thunder set, and Davis also sat out one of those two games so he would not overwork the foot.
However, coming out of the All-Star break with the Lakers’ goal to qualify for the playoffs as the No. 6 seed or higher, Ham made it sound like he would have his players on the floor for the three remaining back-to-backs on L.A.’s schedule.
“We’ll manage how we need to manage on non-game days,” Ham said. “But I expect everybody to be suited up.”
Ham contradicted himself Wednesday, though, saying the decision to sit Davis had already been made.
“It’s something that was discussed weeks ago, and we’re just sticking to a plan,” Ham said.
Ham was asked why, if the plan was already in place to sit Davis one of the two games versus Memphis and Oklahoma City, Davis didn’t rest against the superior team in the Grizzlies and play against the Thunder with a better chance to secure a win.
“It’s not based on the strength of our opponent,” Ham said. “It’s based on what we need to get done. So it’s one of those things where we’re coming out to win every game.”
Davis’ injury was identified as a bone spur fracturing off the navicular bone in his right foot and a stress reaction. Davis admitted he could undergo surgery to repair it in the offseason.
With the Lakers a game out of the No. 10 seed — and final play-in spot — in the West with 20 games remaining and reeling from the indefinite absence of James, Ham said Davis’ health management still has to remain a priority.
“We don’t want the circumstances of winning or losing games to dictate how we handle our players’ health,” Ham said.
Ham said there will be a process for Davis to undergo with Lakers medical personnel to be cleared to return to play. L.A.’s next game is at home Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Thunder are also playing the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday, coming off a 123-117 loss to the Sacramento Kings — their fourth straight defeat.
“We got a must-win tomorrow, we believe, in this locker room,” Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder said after the loss to Memphis. “So we just got to get to OKC and try to win.”
The Lakers started Mo Bamba in Davis’ place.