The Los Angeles Lakers need a healthy Anthony Davis in order to be a true championship contender, but the superstar big man continues to be sidelined with a sprained MCL. Davis has been working toward making his return from the knee injury, hoping to play a game in the not-too-distant future.

Davis last played on Dec. 17 in a 110-92 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers announced that Davis would be re-evaluated in four weeks from his diagnosis. L.A. is scheduled to visit the Denver Nuggets Saturday night, which marks four weeks since Davis suffered the injury.

Los Angeles hosts the Utah Jazz Monday, Jan. 17. The Lakers’ schedule gets a little easier with matchups against the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic on Jan. 19 and Jan 21 before the team faces the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers on the road. The Lakers conclude a six-game road trip in Atlanta on Jan. 30.

Prior to the Lakers' matchup on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, Davis was seen doing drills on the court at Arena.

The Lakers are 21-20 and in a tight battle for a middle seed in the Western Conference.

Davis, 28, has missed 14 games and counting. Since entering the NBA in 2012, the most games Davis has played in an NBA season is 75.

LeBron James has played at an MVP level in Davis’ absence, but it hasn’t been enough to carry the Lakers toward the top of the standings. The more time Davis misses, the more difficult it will be for Los Angeles to be a legitimate threat in the West.

Prior to getting hurt, Davis was failing to meet expectations. His 23.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game are both below his career averages. A career 30.4% 3-point shooter, Davis has only made 56 attempts from behind the arc. There have also been questions about his defensive effort.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters that Davis would play a lot of center upon his return. James has been starting at center in Davis' absence.

Davis missed much of the Lakers' first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns last season. Los Angeles had a 2-1 series lead until Davis suffered an injury and barely played in three straight losses.

"[Davis] obviously is a huge part of our team and we’ve got to figure out how to play without him for some time. It’s something that we’ve got to adjust to. It’s something we can figure out," Russell Westbrook said after Davis became inactive.

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after an injury in front of LeBron James
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after an injury in front of LeBron James Getty Images | Harry How