Under the hoop, Anthony Davis knelt down, his hands clenching his head.

His shoulders sagged as he staggered over to the Laker bench.

Being too disoriented to walk, he arrived back in the changing area in a wheelchair.

The last Laker to exit the locker room, he later left the Chase Centre on his own, making his way slowly and deliberately to the bus.

Sigh. Pause. Scream!

What the Lakers feared happened. The Laker supporters dreaded this. The Golden State Warriors required something like this.

This may turn into a nightmare.

Long a running joke, the situation is now unfunny with the Lakers in the midst of a legitimate championship drive and their big man in the midst of dominance that will define his career.

It’s possible that Davis may suffer another injury and that chaos will soon break out.

Wednesday night’s Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals ended with 7:43 remaining after the Warriors’ Kevon Looney elbowed Davis in the temple.

Davis departed the game nine seconds later, ending the Lakers’ dreams of a miraculous comeback. The Lakers’ 121-106 loss has turned this series on its head.

A three games to one blowout has turned into a three games to two nail-biter.

The Lakers now only have just one shot to stop this, as opposed to their previous three opportunities.

They will have to come back here for a difficult Game 7 against the reigning champions, and they don’t want any part of it if they lose Game 6 on Friday night at Arena.

The difference an elbow makes is amazing.

Although TNT’s Chris Haynes stated that Davis “appears to have avoided a concussion,” it was all very strange. The Lakers, as expected, provided no information on his status.

The one thing that was clear was that the glum Lakers didn’t appear happy.

By the time the media was let in over 30 minutes after the game, Davis’ locker had been wiped out, so it was up to his bewildered coach and worn-out teammates to describe what they had witnessed.

Like everyone else, they lacked certainty.

When entering the post-game press conference, coach Darvin Ham remarked, “He seems to be doing really well already.”

The coach said, “We just got done with the game,” when questioned about the next steps in Davis’ medical care.

Austin Reaves stated that he anticipated Davis playing on Friday, but he wondered what may occur if he didn’t.

“Obviously A.D. is huge to what we do,” the player said. “I believe he’ll play. If that’s not the case, we’re still a group of NBA basketball players that have played games without him this year.”

Reaves said, “Like I said, you never want to play a game, a huge game, without a man like him, but that’s the way of the game. I struggled to 15 points and was regularly burnt defensively. Really, that’s it. Obtain more points.

When questioned about his running partner about an hour after the game, LeBron James responded, “I didn’t see the shot,” indicating how difficult it was for him to lead the team on his own down the stretch. I just seen the results. But according to the medical staff, he is improving. What matters most is that.

The Lakers held a lead of 18 points when Davis departed the game on Wednesday. They gradually shrank as their gigantic presence vanished and lost the ability to maintain their charge.

“We had some good moments,” James remarked. But not quite where we needed to be at 48 minutes.

Unmentioned was the fact that Davis is typically on the court when those positive moments occur. This playoffs has made it quite evident that Davis, not James, is the Lakers’ most crucial player.

Davis is the most vulnerable target. Davis is the most unstoppable person. The one who is most dreaded is Davis.

Davis played with four fouls and finished the game with 23 points, nine rebounds, and a driving Warrior offence.

Davis has easily been the league’s most dominant defensive force throughout the postseason, averaging four blocks, two steals, and 14 rebounds in addition to his average of 22 points.

Without him, they can’t claim a title. Without him, they might not even be able to win this series. If the injury keeps him out for one game, the Lakers’ season may be over after merely 48 minutes.

The Warriors outrebounded the Lakers by 10 and were outscored by only two points in the paint on Wednesday despite Davis not playing his full minutes. The driving and dishing champions have a lot of opportunities to profit from his absence. Expect to see all of them on Friday if he doesn’t show up.

They are undoubtedly a proud group, Ham remarked. Salute for them for conducting business on their own level.

The “NBA on TNT” crew shouldn’t get any props for laughing at Davis’ injuries on Wednesday night or for quietly making fun of him for using a wheelchair.

Since Davis has missed so many games due to aches and pains during his career, it is only fitting that his nickname is “Street Clothes.”

However, this was a head injury. This was nothing to chuckle at.

This time, there is no humour in the possibility of Anthony Davis suffering another injury.

This article first published in the Los Angeles Times.

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