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Anthony Davis Injury Watch: Achilles’ Tendinosis

Posted: Feb 11, 2021Last updated: Mar 5, 2021

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis. Read his Anthony Davis Achilles Injury Watch.

Anthony Davis Injury Watch

Anthony Davis, PF, Los Angeles Lakers: Right Achilles’ tendinosis

The NBA injury report tells a story every day and its latest chapter is Lakers PF Anthony Davis. The superstar is dealing with a right Achilles tendinosis. This comes on the heels of numerous injuries to the right side of his body since the beginning of the season including calf, quadriceps, and adductor strains, an ankle sprain in addition to back and left toe injuries. The Achilles has already caused him to miss two games after he reported some soreness following the win over the Pistons on Saturday. 

Detailed view of the Achilles’ tendon (Coreem.net)

In general, a tendon connects muscle to the bone to act as an anchor for joint movement during muscle contraction and lengthening. The Achilles connects the gastrocnemius and soleus to the heel which allows for foot push-off during walking, running, and jumping. When there is a sudden/heavy overload to the tendon, micro-tears occur within the tendon, causing pain and inflammation, leading to tendonitis. 

Comparison between tendonitis versus tendinosis similar to Anthony Davis’ Achilles’ injury. (AdvancedPTme.com)

Normally, the striations of the tendon are parallel to pull evenly when the muscle contracts. When microtears occur with tendinitis, the body begins to lay down collagen to begin healing the tissue but does not heal in the linear pattern, instead, haphazardly. This weakened collagen doesn’t pull evenly, preventing the proper functioning of the muscle. When chronic overuse occurs, the collagen in the tendon begins to degenerate without having proper time to heal, leading to tendinosis.

The ESPN article referenced above notes that he has been dealing with this for some time with imaging indicating that the tendon is intact. However, dealing with all the other injuries, especially on the right side may have led to this being a compensation injury due to the body adapting to account for previous injuries. 

The right side is also his lead foot with shooting. As a result, he would lack the explosive power needed for jumping and pivoting due to the weakened tissue. Factor in the shortened offseason, compressed schedule, and altered 2020 schedule, he may not have been able to recover how he normally would in the offseason. 

Anthony Davis Injury: Betting/Fantasy Basketball Outlook

Davis will likely be a candidate for “load management” so that he can still play — which could impact his fantasy basketball ceiling for the rest of the 2020-2021 NBA season.

This is not something that is expected to heal quickly; it can take 3-to-6 months or even longer for the tissue to heal properly. With interventions including deep tissue massage, eccentric exercises, and general rest, he should miss some time with research suggesting between 23 days and 48 days.

I expect the lower end of the timeline and come back to play even sooner.

I’d expect his minutes to be reduced once he returns while he rehabs. By then, the playoffs will be close to starting. The hope is that Davis can come back healthy to help the Lakers repeat at NBA Champions.

Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.

Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.

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After reading the Anthony Davis Achilles’ injury update:

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Kyle Trimble

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