Davis was attempting an inward 2 ½ somersault in the tuck position when she struck the bridge of her nose on the board and scraped her head. Blood poured down her face, stunning spectators, some of whom covered their faces.
German coach Lutz Buschkow jumped into the pool and pulled a crying Davis to the side. She was put on a floating stretcher and taken to the hospital, where her parents and boyfriend joined her.
Davis received a few stitches in her swollen nose, which was not broken, and returned to her hotel Friday evening.
"It could have been a lot worse. We've very, very fortunate," U.S. diving team leader Bob Rydze said. "We're letting her rest, but everyone wants to visit her."
Rydze said Davis never lost consciousness.
"She knew she hit the board and she knew what dive she hit the board on, which was a very good sign," he said. "A lot of times divers hit the board and forget."
Jashia Luna of Mexico was next on the board after Davis, and seeing the bloodied American upset her.
"After I saw her hit the board, I started shaking," Luna said. "The judges asked me if I was OK, and I told them I was OK and I could do it. But then when I was on the board, I started shaking again."
Luna's fingers hit the board on her third dive, but she finished the preliminaries and X-rays taken later were negative.
Davis is entered in Sunday's synchronized 3-meter springboard with Laura Wilkinson. Rydze said the U.S. coaches would decide Saturday which pair of divers would compete.
"We'll see how she feels Saturday," he said. "Mentally, she wants to dive. The issue will be how the swelling and pain are. Going deep in the water is going to be hard on her nose."
Davis, a 17-year-old diver who trains in Columbus, Ohio, was competing in her first senior-level world championships. She was in 14th place at the time, which would have put her in position to advance to the semifinals Friday.
The fourth round of competition resumed after a brief delay.