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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) celebrates a basket with New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) during the second half of an NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La., Friday, Oct. 20, 2017. The Golden State Warriors won 128-120.

Advocate staff photo by MAX BECHERER

Anthony Davis' knee injury didn't last long.

Davis, who left Tuesday's first quarter at Portland with a left knee injury, returned to New Orleans' starting lineup in Saturday's 6 p.m. tipoff against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The four-time All-Star forward missed the Pelicans' 114-106 win at Sacramento two days ago. Davis' injury, which revealed no structural damage via an MRI on Tuesday, was short-lived.

"It wasn't anything," Gentry said. "Just a little soreness, as I said. We did it not to take a chance at anything. If it was a playoff game, he probably would've played the other night. But you've got to be smart about it, I think."

The 24-year-old's negative MRI results were a positive for New Orleans' team with five players sidelined with injuries for at least one month.

Five Pelicans are expected to miss multiple weeks with injuries: guard Rajon Rondo (core muscle), forward Solomon Hill (hamstring), center Omer Asik (illness), guard Frank Jackson (foot) and center Alexis Ajinca (knee).

Smith signed by New Orleans

The Pelicans added veteran forward Josh Smith to their roster Saturday after the team received an injury hardship exemption from the NBA, the Pelicans announced Saturday afternoon.

New Orleans added Smith to a roster exhausted with injuries, especially in the frontcourt.

"Being able to get this call, I feel like it was a second chance and a breath of fresh air," said Smith, who will wear No. 5 for the Pelicans. "I thank the New Orleans Pelicans organization for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to continue to do what I love to do."

Smith, who most recently played 26 games as a member of the Chinese Basketball Association's Sichuan Blue Whales, traveled to Sacramento for Thursday's game against the Kings, but was not signed in time for tipoff.

Now a Pelican, Smith can aid New Orleans' ailing team.

"I'm just happy to be here," Smith said. "I'm not really focused on minutes, or anything else. I'm just happy to be here and get an opportunity to help these guys."

Smith, 31, sat out the 2016-17 NBA season entirely. The 12-year journeyman played nine years with the Atlanta Hawks before splitting time with the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers from 2013-16.

Smith posted career averages of 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds, but hasn't averaged more than 7.0 points per game since he averaged 12.0 points in 55 games as a Rocket from 2014-15.

With Davis out Thursday, the Pelicans were limited to two true post players: DeMarcus Cousins and second-year forward Cheick Diallo, who has played 20 total games in his NBA career.

New Orleans needed interior bodies, and Smith provides that, Gentry said.

"We're short on big guys, number one," Gentry said. "He's also a big guy that can make plays. He's made plays in the past. Good passer and has a pretty good feel for the game."

Smith, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward, will remain with New Orleans for an unknown period of time, as the team must reset its roster back to 15 players when at least two return from injury. 

Smith will cost the Pelicans $13,156 per day as New Orleans was $1 million below the luxury tax, ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks tweeted on Saturday.

With so many injuries currently on their roster, the Pelicans have 10 available players for Saturday's game, not including a pair of two-way contracts to guard Charles Cooke and forward Jalen Jones — both of whom are likely to be available.

The NBA's injury hardship exception is handed to teams missing at least four players for at least three games.