AD to come off bench as Lakers manage minutes

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers star big man Anthony Davis will return to the lineup Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, according to Lakers coach Darvin Ham, and come off the bench for the first time in nearly a decade.

Davis, out for the last 5½ weeks because of a fractured bone spur and stress reaction in his right foot, was cleared after his pregame warmup Wednesday about two hours prior to tipoff.

“I’m happy for him, first and foremost,” Ham said. “I know how frustrating this process has been for him, especially at the level at which he was playing. I’m just happy for him, and definitely happy for us. We’ll get him out there, we won’t go too crazy with his minutes, and see how he responds.”

Davis will be on a minutes restriction in the 20-24 minute range, sources told ESPN.

Ham said he will manage Davis’ minutes so he can potentially close out the game if need be. The last time Davis came off the bench in a game was Dec. 18, 2013, in Los Angeles against the Clippers in his second season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

All told, Davis has been a substitute in only five out of the 629 games he’s played in his career. Ham was asked if Davis was fully recovered or if the team had any lingering concerns about the eight-time All-Star re-injuring himself.

“He’s gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight bearing exercises, activity on the court — both individually and some group workouts,” Ham said. “We would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself. So he had these boxes that he had to check, and he’s checked all of them. So we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight.”

Rui Hachimura, acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards earlier this week, will make his Lakers debut against the Spurs and also come off the bench, according to Ham.

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