Anthony Davis expects to return from calf injury Thursday vs. Dallas

Lakers were 18-17 with big man out
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Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis spoke to reporters for the first time since suffering a right calf strain on Feb. 14 against the Denver Nuggets.

After more than two months of rehabilitation and recovery, Davis told reporters he expects to return to the court on the road on Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks if feels no soreness.

Davis went through a full-contact practice with his team on Wednesday before boarding a plane with the rest of his teammates headed to Dallas.

The Lakers are18-17 in games without Davis.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Davis will be on a minutes restriction of about 15 minutes if he does play, and the team will take it slow with their superstar until he’s back in shape.

“We wanted to make sure he looked good on the court today, which he did,” Vogel said. “But it’s really how he responds to the increased workload. If he has significant soreness, then we’re prepared to wait another game.”

Davis acknowledged that he felt a sharp pain like something was ripping in his right calf when he first suffered the injury back in February on a drive to the basket with Nikola Jokic bumping him as he prepared to elevate to the hoop.

Davis said he feared he had suffered a partially torn Achilles; he was relieved when MRI results revealed no Achilles tear, which was good news for Davis.

Davis said he still had pain after four weeks, which is why the team’s medical staff took more time to make sure he was fully recovered from the injury. Davis said the injury was re-evaluated last week when the Lakers returned home form a seven-game road trip, and he experienced no pain.

“It was a longer process,” Davis said. “After four weeks I was testing and doing some things on the leg, and I had to stop because it was painful. For whatever the reasons may be, it just wasn’t ready. So, we delayed the process to make sure it was fully healthy and healed before I go back out and play.

“We revisited those same tests maybe three or four days ago. … and it felt completely fine.”

Now that he’s set to return to play, Davis said he’ll have to get comfortable playing with new teammates Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore.

“He’s always trying to learn, knowing that it’s different when I’m on the floor -- his role changes a little bit,” Davis said about Drummond. “I think it’s going to happen fairly quickly for us to really adapt to each other, because we’re both guys that want to learn from each other and want to win, at the end of the way. And when you’ve got guys who want to win, you find ways to make it happen.”