ANTHONY DAVIS’ playing status for the New Orleans Pelicans’ Saturday road game against the Memphis Grizzlies was uncertain after the star forward made an awkward return to action Friday.
The six-time All-Star played for the first time in three weeks as the Pelicans posted a 122-117 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, but he sat out the final 15-plus minutes even though the contest was close until the final seconds.
As the Pelicans prepared for their late-night flight to Memphis, Davis said he was going to talk to coach Alvin Gentry about whether he would play in the second of back-to-back games.
Davis was on the court Friday for the first time since making a trade request two weeks ago. He was sidelined by a finger injury at the time of the request, then the Pelicans held him out while waiting to see if they got a trade offer worth accepting before the Thursday deadline.
The New Orleans crowd booed Davis when he was introduced Friday, then each time he touched the ball in the early going.
“I was surprised,” Davis said. “It was definitely awkward, but it doesn’t bother me. I was just happy to be able to play the game I love.”
Gradually, more and more fans started cheering Davis as he went on to score 32 points and grab nine rebounds in a little less than 25 minutes, making 11 of 15 field-goal attempts and 10 of 11 foul shots.
Gentry ultimately left Davis on the bench with the game on the line.
“I was ready,” Davis said.
Gentry said he didn’t want Davis’ minutes to exceed his pre-determined number even as the once-hostile crowd chanted for Davis to go back in during a fourth-quarter time out.
“I think he played well when he was in there,” Gentry said. “We’ll figure out his minutes as we go along.” — Reuters