Quincy Pondexter is close to returning, but still hasn’t seen the floor.

The New Orleans Pelicans starting small forward was listed as “questionable” on the team’s pregame injury report — the first time he wasn’t pronounced “out” this season — but was still held off the floor in the Pelicans game against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at the Smoothie King Center.

On a night when the Mavericks rested four starters, less than 24 hours removed from a double-overtime win, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry showed equal restraint holding back Pondexter.

“When the time is right, he’ll be out there,” Gentry said. “He’s still going through tests and doctors, things like that. It’s not something that we’re going to do until we’re absolutely sure that he can return.”

However, the Pelicans were able to activate Tyreke Evans, who missed Saturday’s win over Dallas and the past two days of practice because of tendinitis in his right knee. And this knee injury proved to be far less significant than the one that required preseason arthroscopic surgery and sidelined Evans for the first month of the season.

Evans was able to play his full rotation of minutes and started at point guard, re-taking his usual spot.

“There’s no restrictions or anything,” Gentry said. “He could have practiced the last few days, could’ve easily practiced. It’s just precautionary reasons. We just didn’t feel like to have him out there running around for an hour and a half doing things (instead of giving) him two more days to rest.”

Retaining Ryan

Weeks of swirling rumors about the Pelicans potentially making a trade has caused endless consternation despite the absence of any action to this point.

And Gentry gave no indication the franchise is on the verge of making any news at this time. But he admitted there’s always deals in the works.

“If we’re going to do anything, it would be by mutual consent,” Gentry said. “We’ve talked about a few things. People have talked to us about a few things. Nothing that we felt was really beneficial to our team.”

No one’s name has surfaced more often than power forward Ryan Anderson, whose contract expires at the end of the season. His 6-foot-10 frame and dynamic shooting ability make him a prime target for teams hoping to bolster their roster for the playoffs.

But Gentry insisted they’ve made no proactive attempt to deal him.

“Everyone knows Ryan’s name’s going to be out there,” Gentry said. “We’ve not made one call about trading Ryan, nor would we. Those are the kind of things that’s going to happen. There’s other guys that people are going to inquire about or whatever.

“To me, once you’ve been in the league a couple of years, everyone knows that’s just part of it, and I think most of the players you’ll see just focus on playing.”

Payton presser

It may have been a Pelicans game day, but their neighbors across the parking lot on Airline Drive were well aware of the momentous day taking place for the Saints.

Sean Payton’s 62-minute press conference to announce he was remaining with the franchise enraptured the city and even pleased their co-tenants.

“Sean is staying, which is really, really great,” Gentry said. “I think anybody that has been around there any amount of time knows that Sean is just such an important part of what’s going on with the Saints and anything about them. I mean, he is the Saints.

“I think you’ll see those guys next year have an entirely different season. It’s great that he’s staying, and I think everyone is extremely happy that he’s staying.”

Lagniappe

Alexis Ajinca played for just the third time in the past nine games, including a stretch of five straight games when he didn’t leave the bench. … The Mavericks air-balled 3-pointers on consecutive possessions midway through the second quarter. … Anderson missed his first five shots of the game. … Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees and wife, Brittany, took in the game from a suite, with their kids decked out in Anthony Davis jerseys.