Indianapolis — On Tuesday night, Anthony Davis eagerly waited for his fever to break, then arrived at Madison Square Garden less than an hour before the initial tip-off. He hurried through his pregame process without a fair chance to warm up, but still took time to start.
There was no such last-minute heroism from Davis on Wednesday in Indiana. His fever returned, and he lay in bed.
It was the first official absence of the season for Davis, who has led the Lakers in scoring (24.3 ppg), rebounding (10.3 rpg) and blocked shots (2.2 bpg), while playing with injury and illness to answer questions about his stiffness. trying to solve. , The final leg of a five-game road trip and back-to-back days of flu-like symptoms were clearly his limits. The symptoms were not related to COVID-19, the Lakers said, and the all-star big man has been vaccinated.
Coach Frank Vogel lamented that the Lakers could not keep Davis in the lineup the same day LeBron James returned from a one-game suspension, but changing rotations throughout the season has been a matter for the Lakers. In their 20th game, the Lakers used their 10th different starting lineup with Talen Horton-Tucker for Davis.
“He’s been in every game, and it’s a different challenge for us, obviously what he does on both sides of the ball,” Vogel said. “It is a big (pacers) team we are playing against, so we will definitely miss his size and length. We just have to adjust.”
Davis described his symptoms after losing to the Knicks on Tuesday: “Headache. All flu symptoms, really. Coughing. Fever. Body aches. Everything.” He said the symptoms contributed to a slow onset, and it took a quarter of the time for his body to warm up.
Earlier this season, Davis started in Portland despite vomiting four times before, but failed to play past the first quarter when he vomited again. This is only the second time this season that Davis has lost most games.
After missing half of the season last year, Davis said he entered this season with a sense of appreciation for the game and it made him more determined to play as much as possible.
“I think last season made me realize that I want to play,” he said earlier this year. “I love playing sports. Not being able to play for a significant part of the season, it was very frustrating.”
The Lakers introduced DeAndre Jordan in the center against Indiana, but he did something in the first half that Vogel initially said was “unlikely”, as two forwards without a traditional center to James and Carmelo Anthony. to play.
The Lakers kept Horton-Tucker in the starting lineup despite their recent struggles, which included a 0-for-8 scoreless night against the Knicks. In addition to continuing treatment on his right thumb, which required surgery in October, Horton-Tucker, just 20 years old, is still learning, Vogel said.
“He’s confident,” Vogel said. “He’ll have some off-nights. Show him the movie, talk about ways – some wrong decisions, tough shots can lead to a bad rhythm and lead to a tough night. And I think last night That was certainly the case.”