Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says Tyreke Evans’ role with the team is clear: ‘He is mostly going to be a point guard’ _lowres

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans dunks against Golden State last season.

LOS ANGELES — New Orleans Pelicans guard-forward Tyreke Evans did not make his season debut Friday night against the Clippers at Staples Center, but said, “It’ll be soon.”

Coach Alvin Gentry said “there’s a possibility he’ll play (Saturday night at Utah). We’ll just have to wait and see. I think he’s getting close.”

Evans, coming back from Oct. 20 arthroscopic right-knee surgery, has missed 16 games but has been practicing with the team since Monday.

“The swelling isn’t that bad right now,” he said, after Friday’s morning shoot-around. “I’m continuing to get treatment, trying to get the pain level down.”

Asked that, if his team was fighting for a playoff spot, or in the playoffs, if he could play with the current pain, Evans nodded.

“I’d definitely be out there to help my teammates,” he said, “but they’ve been playing really good lately, and I think they’ve figured it out (during the three-game winning streak).

“I’m just going to come back soon, and try to add to it.”

Evans, a former NBA Rookie of the Year, averaged 16.3 points last season.

“It’s one of the things where we want to err on the side of caution,” Gentry said. “If it was just up to him, he wants to be out there, believe me.”

Jrue Holliday and Eric Gordon were the Pelicans’ back-court starters against the Clippers, with Alonzo Gee opening at small forward.