EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- As Anthony Davis stood by a wall at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility and spoke to reporters for the first time since taking a nasty fall against the New York Knicks last week that has caused him to miss L.A.'s past three games, he said he was pain-free.
In that moment.
"Right now, just talking to you? Zero [pain] right now," Davis said Tuesday. "It's the movement that kind of gets me. But ... I'm getting closer to getting back on the floor with these guys."
Davis suffered a bruised backside when he hit the floor hard on his tailbone area after trying to block a shot by New York's Julius Randle. He missed the rest of that game -- a win by L.A. -- and then the Lakers' next three games. Three more wins.
"The last three games, it looks like they don't need me," Davis said, showering praise on teammates such as Kyle Kuzma, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels and Alex Caruso, who all have stepped up in his absence. "So kind of taking it slower than usual."
Lakers coach Frank Vogel, however, wanted to make it clear that the Lakers very much need Davis to accomplish their goals this season.
"This is L.A. You know everything I say will be quoted out of context. So I was going to make a joke, but I'm not going to joke because we definitely need Anthony Davis," Vogel said. "But we are undefeated this week without him. Something along the lines of, 'Well, if you look at the statistics ... I don't know what the joke would be. I'm not very funny."
Davis' injury was no laughing matter. L.A.'s star big man detailed his thought process immediately following the fall.
"It was very painful," Davis said. "Hard for me to walk, obviously. It was pretty tough for me to just roll over on my back and on my side at the initial point of contact. It was tough. I didn't want any speculation, but I was just praying that it wasn't anything too serious."
Davis received X-rays at the arena and an MRI later that night, which revealed that he'd avoided a major setback that would have sidelined him for a chunk of the season. He would only have to rehabilitate a muscle bruise, or what the team dubbed a gluteus maximus contusion.
"Very relieving knowing that just based on how it felt, a day-to-day thing, [rather] than a fracture or anything like that where you need surgery and you're out weeks or months or whatever," Davis said. "I'm glad [that my return timeline is] just based on how I feel."
Davis said he still hasn't sprinted since the injury, nor has he had any contact drills or live 5-on-5 play in practice. He hasn't ruled out playing Wednesday at home against the Orlando Magic, but he expressed patience in his approach.
"Every day it's getting better and I'm a lot closer than I was three days ago," Davis said. "Made some more progress today. When I feel like I'm able to get back to my old self and do the moves I've always done and be successful at it, that's when I'll be able to get back on the floor."
Vogel backed up Davis' measured plan.
"We're always going to be cautious with all of our players and take the marathon approach with injuries and return to play at the right pace," Vogel said. "But he's shown great toughness throughout this year."