Anthony Davis reportedly out of walking boot, taking steps to return to play

NBA: MAR 03 Lakers at Clippers
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It looks like the Lakers will have Anthony Davis back for the playoffs.

Davis is out of his walking boot as he recovers from a mid-foot sprain and is on track to return to the team before the season ends, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ABC’s NBA Countdown Saturday night.

“His walking boot is off, and I’m told this week the next step for him is he’ll get on the court and start to do some stationary shooting. And they still, with 16 games left for the Lakers and the toughest schedule left in the league, the expectation is that they can still hang on to the play-in and get in the postseason and they can have Anthony Davis back…

“Anthony Davis wants to be back, this team wants him back. He’ll make more progress this week they hope, and he’ll have another MRI which will be about four weeks out from the injury, and the hope is that he can then start progressing towards returning before the postseason begins.”

Fivethiryeight.com projects the Lakers to finish 10th in the West, holding onto the final play-in spot (and with the injury to Brandon Ingram in New Orleans, the Lakers may remain the No. 9 seed). That means winning two straight play-in games — over the Pelicans then the loser of the Timberwolves vs. Clippers game — just to make the playoffs and face the Suns in the first round.

For all the flaws of the Lakers roster and their unimpressive play this season, if Davis and LeBron James are healthy and playing at an All-NBA level for the playoffs, the Lakers are dangerous in the West. Those two raise the bar that much (and LeBron has raised it on his own in the last week with two 50-point games). Los Angeles would certainly not be the team Phoenix most wants to see in the first round.

All of that hinges on the return of Davis, who has averaged 23.1 points and 9.7 rebounds a game this season when healthy. The Lakers need Davis to be his vintage self again. He’s at least making progress down that road.