Pelicans F Anthony Davis returns after missing game with ankle injury

Anthony Davis (23) is defended by DeMarcus Cousins (15) in Davis' return to the lineup.

Crystal LoGiudice/Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

It didn’t take long: Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis missed just one full game after being diagnosed with a joint and soft tissue injury in his left ankle last Friday night after going down in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz.

Davis returned to action Monday night versus the Sacramento Kings inside the Smoothie King Center after missing New Orleans’ matchup with the Spurs in San Antonio on Saturday.

"He looked good this morning in shootaround," coach Monty Williams said. "It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t play (Saturday), but we’ve dealt with that all year long. We’re just happy to have him back tonight."

Analysts wondered whether Davis would take the remainder of the season off and rest his ankle. The 21-year-old’s injury was triggered by wear and tear, not a specific incident.

It’s a theory Davis scoffed at.

"No way," Davis said. "I’m feeling much better. I’m ready to go."

The Pelicans’ training staff and Davis worked feverishly to get him to this point. Davis invested much time into intensive therapy on his ankle four times a day since Friday.

Tonight marks Davis’ 64th game of his sophomore season, the same number of games he played last season as a rookie. The challenge of pushing through is one that will help mold and toughen Davis for the future, according to Williams.

"With all of the guys we have out, I think he feels like he needs to be out there," Williams said. "I think he feels like this is a great way for him to get conditioned for what we want to do someday. We want to be a team that plays well into May, and Lord willing, June. You’ve got to get used to playing heavy minutes. I think this is great conditioning for him."