Lakers rule out Anthony Davis with low back tightness

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

MINNEAPOLIS – Anthony Davis won't play for the Los Angeles Lakers against Minnesota on Friday night due to low back tightness.

Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham said Davis felt the tightness when he woke up Friday morning and that the team decided to take the cautious approach with the oft-injured big man. Ham hoped having Davis sit out Friday would lead to him being available to play in the next game when the Lakers return home Sunday against Denver.

“You’re on the road, obviously it’s not your bed," Ham said. "Just getting out in front of it and not wanting to put him in a make-or-break situation too early in the season. … Why risk it was our thought process.”

It will be the first missed game of the season for Davis, who is averaging 24 points and 9.5 rebounds this season. Davis played in just 40 games last season for Los Angeles, which is off to an 0-4 start.

“The back is a tricky thing,” Ham said.

Davis' absence could lead Russell Westbrook to stay in the starting lineup, though Ham didn't disclose who would start. Westbrook is available after missing the last game with left hamstring soreness.

The Lakers have discussed bringing Westbrook off the bench as they seek to find a remedy for the sluggish start.