Hornets Must Ensure That Anthony Davis' Injury Doesn't Make Him Next Grant Hill

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 24:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets at New Orleans Arena on October 24, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Anthony Davis has already missed a few games after a collision with Austin Rivers led to a concussion, and a stress reaction in his left ankle has kept him out of action since New Orleans' loss to Milwaukee.

Davis has been inconsistent, scoring over 20 points three different times but scoring just eight points three different times.

At the very least, Davis has shown flashes of his ability to score and dominate on the offensive end, but he's consistently been able to block shots, rebound and just play solid defense throughout the course of his first six games.

New Orleans has a great young player on its hands, and as long as he stays healthy and the rest of the team continues to improve and heal (as far as Eric Gordon goes), then it's going to be a very good team down the road.

There's a bit of a qualifier in that, however. They have to make sure Davis is able to stay healthy, something that's become a concern early in the season for the big man.

His first injury, a concussion after he and Rivers ran into each other, is easy to call a fluke injury, but the games he's missed because of his stressed ankle is a bit more interesting.

Basically, the story surrounding Anthony's ankle isn't too complicated as much as it is strange. He first hurt his ankle back in July, an injury that could have kept him out of the Olympics. He recovered in enough time to participate and the little tweak was pretty much forgotten.

However, after rolling his ankle three times in just three days, New Orleans was concerned, giving them reason to give Davis an MRI. The MRI revealed a stress reaction in his left ankle, something that could lead to a stress fracture if left untreated.

From there, Davis said something that probably made every Hornets fan in the world cringe:

The fact I sprained my ankle three times in that one week, that was odd. So they found that inside my foot. And you know the whole Grant Hill story, so they wanted to be very cautious with the way I handled things.

Grant Hill, of course, saw his career marked with ankle injuries, basically derailing what looked to be one of the greatest players since Michael Jordan.

What happened with Hill is not dissimilar to what is happening with Davis, although the Hornets are in a perfect situation to stop the injury from becoming more serious.

Hill first hurt his ankle just a week before the start of the 2000 playoffs. Rather than resting and healing, Hill played through the problem, worsening things when he rolled it again in Game 2 of the first round, taking him out of the game. 

He would require surgery once in the offseason, and then again that December. That was the beginning of the end for Hill, who would play sporadically for the next four seasons before he reinvented himself as a defensive stopper.

The difference between these two situations is that Detroit took a strange path in dealing with Hill, even going as far as to question the extent of his injury until it was revealed that his ankle was broken after the playoffs exit in 2002.

Detroit had a reason to try and get the most out of Hill immediately, New Orleans is playing it safe and not playing Davis until the team doctors know for sure that he's going to be safe to be back on the court.

Ankle injuries seem so commonplace in the NBA that it's easy to think a guy who rolls his ankle should be able to come back in a few days later when the swelling goes down, but there are plenty of situations where the injury is more serious than it seems.

New Orleans is doing the right thing in holding Davis out of competition for another week or two. If they end up putting him out there too early and he hurts himself again, Davis could go down a long road, from which there potentially would be no return.