The New Orleans Pelicans’ front office prevented a healthy Anthony Davis from making his return from a finger injury on Monday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Davis, 25, eagerly wanted to suit up at home against the Indiana Pacers after recovering from a left finger avulsion that sidelined him for a little more than two weeks, sources said, but the organization elected to keep him inactive. There’s the impression that his absence could potentially extend until the conclusion of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, sources said.
It was the first contest Davis was healthy enough to rejoin the team since sustaining the injury on Jan. 18, sources said.
The Pacers defeated the Pelicans 109-107, New Orleans’ third consecutive loss and sixth in its last seven games.
New Orleans’ final game before the trade deadline is Wednesday in Chicago. The Pelicans are 3-10 without Davis this season.
If Davis is not traded by the deadline, it is anticipated he would be allowed to join his teammates on the court, but there’s a strong possibility he could be “shut down to an extent” for the remainder of the season at some point after the All-Star break, sources said.
“My intentions are to play,” Davis said last weekend. “I’ve been working to get my finger back healthy. Obviously, it’s a tough situation, but my intention is to still play and when I’m able to play, I plan on suiting up.”
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry informed the local media during his pregame presser on Monday that Davis was “cleared to practice.” But when pressed on whether the 6-foot-10 forward will play this week, he revealed that the decision is out of his hands.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Gentry told the media. “I was told he’s been cleared to practice. That’s what I know.”
With a trade request that went public last week that was made by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, it’s logical that the Pelicans would protect their coveted asset by keeping him shelved until a resolution is reached.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in talks to acquire the six-time All-Star, but the Pelicans are demanding quite a haul of assets. The Boston Celtics desperately want in on the bidding, but are unable to engage before the summer because Kyrie Irving and Davis each have designated player rookie extensions (the CBA forbids teams from having two players with the specific extension). And furthermore, Davis doesn’t want to play in Boston, sources said.
New Orleans has the third-worst record in the Western Conference at 23-31.
In 41 games this season, Davis is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.6 blocks.
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