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Anthony Davis says shoulder improving: 'We're moving in the right direction'

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis acknowledged Monday that although his sore right shoulder has improved, it could cause him to miss game time at some point this season.

"I think it's just looking at the pros and cons of it," Davis said of potentially missing time. "Obviously, if it makes sense and then (the medical staff) give me reasons why, for the betterment of the team, then I guess we can go forward with it. But if doesn't make sense and I can still go out there and play and it makes sense for me to play, then I'll try to play."

Davis jammed his right shoulder when he got caught on the rim on a missed dunk attempt in the Lakers' third game of the season, Oct. 27 against the Charlotte Hornets.

He has played in the Lakers' six games since then but tweaked his shoulder again while blocking a Pascal Siakam shot in Sunday's 113-104 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

"It has gotten much better," Davis said. "When you're playing and you get hit, it gets reaggravated. You take a couple steps back. But it was nothing like how it happened the first time.

"We're moving in the right direction. It's getting better. There are certain plays where we take a couple of steps back. I wish it didn't. But it's basketball. When you're making plays like I make and do some of the things the way I do with how I play, naturally it's going to happen."

Davis said last week that sitting out four to five days could help his shoulder heal, but he clarified on Monday that he wasn't sharing a professional diagnosis.

"That's just me, just knowing," Davis said. "If any injury, you obviously sit out a couple of days, you get a chance to heal. So, that was just me kind of being a doctor on myself."

Davis is averaging 26.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and a career-high 3.1 blocks per game as the Lakers have darted out to a 7-2 start to the season, good enough for a tie with the Denver Nuggets for the No. 1 record in the Western Conference.

The Lakers are officially listing Davis as probable for Tuesday's game against the upstart Phoenix Suns with a sore shoulder. Davis said he will see how his body responds to pregame work before determining if he will play.

"We have to see how it feels," Davis said. "It feels good right now, but I'm going in with a mindset that I'll go through shootaround, see how I'll feel throughout the course of the day tomorrow and shoot before the game, and if it feels good, then pencil me in."

Davis, 26, never played more than 75 games in a season in his first seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. He is cognizant of that injury history when he talks about wanting to play through his shoulder discomfort with the Lakers rather than build in time for periodic rest when he is otherwise healthy.

"If I can play, I want to play," Davis said. "That's my thing. I've been injured enough where I've missed tons of games, so I've had plenty of load-management games. So just being in a situation where with the team we have and the opportunity we have, I want to be on the floor as much as possible and contribute to our success."

While Davis seems eager to test his pain tolerance, the decision could be taken out of his hands. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the Lakers' medical team is in control of whether Davis is available or not.

"We're looking at it very closely, for sure," Vogel said Monday. "We know the importance of Anthony to our system and our goals this year. So we're going to continue to look at it very closely day to day and make decisions at that point." In other Lakers injury news, point guard Rajon Rondo continues to inch closer to making his season debut after being sidelined with a sore right calf. Rondo went through full-court, 5-on-5 scrimmaging Monday for nearly 45 minutes, according to Vogel, but remains questionable for the Suns game. Rondo initially pushed to return sooner, but once his injury was compared to the calf strain Kevin Durant suffered in the playoffs that eventually led to Durant's rupturing his Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals, Rondo adjusted his expectations.

"Once they said that, I kind of backed up as far as wanting to play right away," Rondo said. "I kind of took a little more time off and tried to listen to my body day to day. ... Achilles was the first initial problem, and I rested for a while, then it kind of moved to my calf, and that's when they told me about the KD calf strain, so kind of backed off after that."

Rondo estimates he has received three MRI exams on his leg already and several other ultrasound tests, and they've all led to his taking a cautious approach to his return.

"This is a lower extremity, something you don't want to mess around with," he said. "It can lead to other things. I'm trying to be smart and be conscious of what they're telling me. Been a little stubborn, but at the same time, (Rondo and the medical staff are) on the same page as far as where I need to be and when I need to return."