By Ben Golliver
Hornets rookie Anthony Davis plans to take the slow road back to the court after multiple ankle sprains.
The Times-Picayune reports that Davis, who hasn't appeared in New Orleans' last three games, says he could miss a "week or two" more as he looks to avoid further damaging a right ankle that he recently sprained three times in one week. Davis said an MRI revealed a "stress reaction" in his right ankle, a condition that could develop into a stress fracture.
"The fact I sprained my ankle three times in that one week, that was odd," Davis said. "So they found that inside my foot. And you know the whole Grant Hill story, so they wanted to be very cautious with the way I handled things."
"Hopefully in the next week or two," Davis said." I just hate sitting around and not being able to be on the floor with my team. So as soon as possible, hopefully they'll give me the OK pretty soon.
"Hopefully, early December. Let's just hope I get back sooner. We don't want to rush anything and then have to have surgery. I know the doctors are going to steer me right and tell me the truth."
An additional two-week absence would cost Davis eight more games. To date, he's appeared in six of New Orleans' 11 games, missing two other games after sustaining a mild concussion. The Hornets are currently 3-8, sitting in the Southwest Division's basement. They are 1-4 without him.
Hornets coach Monty Williams has started a frontline of Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Davis and Robin Lopez in Davis' absence, moving Anderson into Davis' starting spot. Davis' absence has opened up playing time for reserve forwards Jason Smith and Lance Thomas, although Williams has juggled his rotations a bit in search of a working combination. Davis, 19, had hit the ground running, averaging 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 28.2 minutes per game.
The Hornets are likely to struggle with or without Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The biggest implication of this absence will be whether it impacts the 2013 Rookie of the Year Race. Davis, the overwhelming preseason favorite, will have some catching up to do when he returns. Blazers guard Damian Lillard is averaging 20.2 points, 6.0 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in 37.3 minutes. He's started all 12 of Portland's games entering Sunday and he's carrying a huge load on a rebuilding team under first-year coach Terry Stotts.
Missing an extended period of time isn't absolutely disqualifying when it comes to the Rookie of the Year award. The 2007 winner, Brandon Roy, missed 25 games. The 2012 winner, Kyrie Irving, missed 15 games last year. By and large, though, the last 10 Rookies of the Year have enjoyed fairly good health. On average, the last 10 Rookies of the Year, including Irving and Roy, have missed just 7 games due to injury. Blake Griffin and Amar'e Stoudemire appeared in every game during their rookie seasons; Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and LeBron James all missed less than five games. In a down class, Davis could get away with this absence, and perhaps another long one or two. Irving had no real competition, at least not after Timberwolves rookie guard Ricky Rubio went down with a serious knee injury. Roy beat out an underwhelming field led by Raptors rookie Andrea Bargnani. Lillard's presence and early success complicates the picture for Davis. Assuming Lillard continues playing near his current level, and assuming he continues to enjoy good health, Davis could get squeezed out of the favorite's spot.