Anthony Davis could return Thursday for Lakers, LeBron James now doing 'light work'

The Los Angeles Lakers have spent the last two months playing without one or both of their marquee stars, but they're close to getting one of them back into the lineup.

Anthony Davis, who last played on Valentine's Day, is very close to returning from a right calf strain. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel gave an update about Davis' progress on Monday, and said they're aiming for him to return on Thursday when the Lakers take on the Dallas Mavericks.

“He got some good work in today,” Vogel said via Silver Screen & Roll. “He got some good work in after our team meeting this morning, and he’s going to continue to build up over the next two days and see how he’s feeling going into that Dallas game.”

The Lakers plan to be careful and smart about Davis' return. A calf strain can be finicky, and since Davis has been out two months, Vogel said he'll have a limit of 15 minutes per game in his first few games back.

"The biggest thing is conditioning right now," Vogel said via ESPN. "He's healthy. But having not played and not really being able to ramp up his physical on-court activity over the last two months, it's going to take some time before he gets his wind under him and obviously, that's the biggest thing. Because if his legs aren't under him, we don't want him to be at risk for re-aggravation of the injury or another injury. We want to keep a close eye on that."

Minutes limit or not, Davis' teammates are thrilled that he'll be making his return.

LeBron still progressing

James, who has been out since March 20 with a high ankle sprain, isn't as close to a return as Davis is. Vogel said on Monday that he's progressing in his rehab, and has started doing "light work" on the court.

James is "just trying to do a little bit more with his activity each day," Vogel said via ESPN.

The Lakers have managed to keep their head (mostly) above water since Davis went down in February and LeBron James injured his ankle in March. They're 14-15 since Davis' injury and 7-8 since James' injury, but have fallen from first to fifth in the Western Conference standings. That's not stellar, but passable for a team missing their two biggest stars.

Davis' return should help the team considerably. If James keeps progressing in his rehab, it's possible he may not be too far behind.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and forward Anthony Davis look on during a time out  in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)
Anthony Davis is close to returning for the Lakers, and LeBron James may not be too far behind. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

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