Lakers' Anthony Davis cleared for full-contact, on-court workouts

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) watches from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Los Angeles, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. The Laker won 108-103. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Lakers forward Anthony Davis watches from the bench during a recent game. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Lakers star Anthony Davis has been cleared by team doctors to begin on-court, full-contact workouts, a crucial step in his return from a sprained left knee that has sidelined him for the last month.

Davis underwent an evaluation Monday with doctors determining that recent tests showed no damage. Davis hasn’t played since he sprained a knee ligament Dec. 17 in a loss at Minnesota.

“There’s still a reconditioning and ramp-up of work involved, but we won’t have a timeline on him,” coach Frank Vogel said after the Lakers' 101-95 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

According to people with knowledge of the situation, there’s optimism Davis could return during the team’s upcoming six-game road trip.

Earlier Monday, Vogel said guard Kendrick Nunn, who was nearing a return from a bone bruise in his right knee that’s kept him out all season, suffered a setback, postponing his potential debut.

“His knee didn’t respond well with it with the bone bruise. Bone bruises are tricky, and his timeline is delayed,” Vogel said. “Still have no firm timeline on it, but he’s pulled back on [it regarding] workload until it calms down.”

Davis has been shooting and going through non-contact drills with a brace on his left knee.

In 27 games this season, Davis is averaging 23.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. The Lakers are 6-8 since he suffered the sprained ligament, not counting the loss in Minnesota the night it happened.

The injury occurred when the Timberwolves' Jaden McDaniels, who was shoved by a cutting LeBron James, stumbled into Davis’ leg. Davis awkwardly fell to the court and immediately grabbed at his knee.

“Freaky play,” Davis said afterward. “Nothing really I could do to get out the way.”

On his way to the locker room, Davis fell to the ground in pain, an image that caused significant concern.

“Just throbbing, pain and the pressure from one end of the court all the way to the other. I just reached a point where it was tough to walk. I had to take a break,” he said. “Like I said, the first thing — I did hear something pop — and the first thing I thought of was that. Which, I was emotional, I was just like everywhere. But like I said, thank God that it wasn’t that.”

Testing later determined that Davis wouldn’t need surgery.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.