Lakers skidding without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and things could...

Davis has been out since Feb. 14 with a calf/Achilles injury, and on Thursday Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the Lakers star is "still a ways away" from returning. 

Davis has now missed the Lakers' last 17 games, in which they have gone 7-10 after Thursday's loss to Philadelphia. Nobody wants to mess with a calf injury after what happened to Kevin Durant, who went from a calf strain to a torn Achilles with one step in the 2019 Finals. The Lakers are going to be as cautious as possible with Davis, even if it costs them some playoff positioning. 

But on that note ....

LeBron James
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The problem with Davis being out is that LeBron is also slated to miss "several weeks" after a high ankle sprain on March 20, and some reports have indicated James' return timetable could be 3-5 weeks

Prior to Thursday, Vogel said the extended absences of LeBron and Davis would "certainly impact what our mindset is come trade deadline time." It might have impacted their mindset, but it didn't inspire any actual movement. The Lakers are now one of just three teams who have not made a midseason trade this year. 

And now they've lost four straight and sit just one game ahead of No. 6 Portland in the loss column, two games ahead of No. 7 Dallas and three games ahead of No. 9 Memphis. It is not a stretch for the Lakers -- who struggle mightily to generate offense without Davis and LeBron and rank 24th in both 3-point frequency and accuracy, per Cleaning the Glass -- to go on an extended slide and wind up having to battle just to stay out of a play-in series, if not have to actually win one or two of those series just to make the playoffs. 

That sounds dramatic, but look at this team without LeBron and Davis. It's a bad team. And these aren't injuries you can just rush back from because the team needs you. They're not just "resting." They're injured. This could legit get kind of dicey for the Lakers. 

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