Harvard-educated neuroscientist and former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski blasted reports NBA star Anthony Davis had avoided concussion Wednesday night as he warned the Lakers not to ‘pull garbage’ over the player’s health.
Davis appeared to take an accidental hit to the side of the head from Kevon Looney in Wednesday’s playoff loss against Golden State and was in clear discomfort when he was sat on the sidelines.
The Lakers star left for the locker room in a wheelchair after being subbed out and, on the television broadcast, appeared shaky on his feet as he tried to leave the court.
Following the game, NBA reporter Chris Haynes appeared to offer Lakers fans a glimmer of hope ahead of Game 6.
‘Early diagnosis indicates Anthony Davis appears to have avoided a concussion and is doing much better now, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport,’ he tweeted.
Anthony Davis had to leave the Laker’s Game 6 against the Warriors after a hit to the head
Head-trauma expert Chris Nowinski warned LA not to ‘pull garbage’ over the player’s health
The former WWE wrestler slammed reports of Davis avoiding a concussion as a ‘joke’
But Nowinski, the co-founder and president of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, hit back at the report, branding it a ‘joke’ as he drew comparisons to NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s multiple concussion scares during the last regular season.
‘Is this a joke? Please don’t try to pull this garbage @Lakers,’ Nowinski responded.
‘We saw what happened to Tua, we don’t need another example of a team trying to be cute about what constitutes a #concussion. You can hurt AD. Explain the wheelchair to us without saying he had impaired balance.’
Tagovailoa, the Miami Dolphins signal caller, entered concussion protocol twice last season, the first time came four days after he was allowed to return to a game against Buffalo after he appeared disoriented following a hit in Week 3.
He was stretchered off the field in Week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals with a concussion and suffered another during the Dolphins’ loss to the Green Bay Packers on Christmas Day, causing him to miss the final three days of the regular season.
Questions had been raised over the decision to allow Tagovailoa to return during the Week 3 games and many expressed concerns over the 24-year-old’s future in the league with analyst Stephen A Smith claiming his NFL career is in jeopardy.
Nowinksi doubled down on his claims that Davis had suffered a concussion Wednesday night, urging the Lakers to resist the temptation to rush the forward back to the court.
‘Anthony Davis had a #concussion tonight,’ he tweeted. ‘Glad to see the team took it seriously and used a wheelchair to take him off the bench when he seemed to complain of trouble with his vision at the end of this clip. Let’s hope he & the team docs resist playoff pressure to return too soon.’
The doctor also the Lakers to resist the temptation to rush the forward back to the court
Davis was in clear discomfort after being subbed off in the fourth quarter of the playoff game
Nowinski drew comparisons to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion scare
Tagovailoa’s first concussion scare came in the second quarter against the Bills in September
The 24-year-old entered concussion protocol for a second time after a loss to the Packers
However, others did not share the same concern has Nowinski with some analysts surprised at Davis’s need for a wheelchair.
‘Anthony Davis needed a wheelchair to get to the locker room???’ ESPN First Take host Skip Bayless asked on social media.
‘The Lakers are about to be in big trouble as the pressure mounts toward a home Game 6 they pretty much have to win. Even with AD, I don’t think they can win a Game 7 at Golden State.’
Despite Nowinski’s concerns, the Lakers seemed optimistic of Davis’s return for a crucial Game 6 against the Warriors.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham moved to ease concerns in his post-game press conference, saying he checked on Davis in the locker room and he seemed to be alright.
‘Obviously everyone saw he took a shot to the head,’ Ham said. ‘I just checked in on him. He seems to be doing really good already.
‘That is where it is at, that is the status of it right now.’
When he was speaking to the media, Ham had no further update on when he will learn more on how Davis is. ‘We just got done with the game,’ he said.
ESPN First Take host Skip Bayless appeared surprised that Davos required a wheelchair
Lakers coach Darvin Ham (left) moved to ease concerns in his post-game press conference
McMenamin said Austin Davis of the Lakers said ‘I believe he’ll (Davis) play’ in Game 6 on Friday night.
Davis finished Wednesday with 23 points on 10-for-18 shooting, nine rebounds and three assists but didn’t block a shot.
He is averaging 21.5 points in the playoffs and is leading the postseason block stats with 3.4.
If Davis is unavailable for Friday night, it will come as a huge blow to the Lakers, who could wrap up the series over the reigning NBA champions with a win.
Los Angeles, leading the series 3-2, lost Wednesday night’s showdown 121-106, allowing Steph Curry and Co. to take it to Game 6 with a shot of tying the series and force an all-or-nothing Game 7.