ATLANTA — On the bright side, there might be no team more mentally prepared than the Pelicans to play without its star.
Still, the hope is that the Pels — for whom dealing with key injuries has become a habit — won’t have to make do for long without Anthony Davis.
Davis sat out against the Hawks on Wednesday night at Philips Arena with a right hip contusion, but he’ll remain with the team for the last two games of a road swing — at Toronto on Friday and at the Knicks on Sunday — and will be evaluated daily.
“I think it’s one of those situations where we’ll just have to evaluate each day to see where it is,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said before the game. “He’ll continue to get treatment on it. It could be something that’s fairly minor or it could be something that’s not. I don’t have any idea right now.”
Davis bruised his hip in Tuesday’s win against the Mavericks in New Orleans, late in a first half in which he scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. The 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 24 points, nine rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, leading the Pelicans all three categories.
In addition to Davis, New Orleans played the Hawks on Wednesday without Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and Norris Cole, who have yet to play this season; backup center Kendrick Perkins, who’s out three months with a torn pectoral muscle; and point guard Jrue Holiday, who played Tuesday but is restricted from playing back-to-back games as he recovers from a stress reaction in his lower right leg.
It’s unclear how long Davis will be sidelined — an MRI exam revealed that his hip “seemed fine,” Gentry said — or when some other key Pelicans will be back on the court.
In the meantime, it’s up to the remaining Pels to fill the void. They’re getting accustomed to that by now.
“AD says it all the time — we’re all under contract, we’re all getting paid, so we got to step up,” point guard Ish Smith said Wednesday. “It’s a huge void to fill, just like everybody else. We all are a piece of the puzzle, whether it’s a major part like AD or whoever.”
Davis’ injury comes just as he’s starting to find a fit in Gentry’s offense.
After scoring 20.7 points per game on 37.9 percent shooting in the Pelicans’ first four games, Davis has averaged 28.3 points and shot 58.9 percent in his past three, despite missing the second half of the Dallas game on Tuesday.
And Davis is finding ways to impact the offense in different ways. He averaged 1.5 assists per game in the first four and has averaged three per game over the past three games.
“I think we’ve played him in the space a little bit more, and I think when he plays in the space, he becomes somewhat of a facilitator also,” Gentry said. “I think that’s where he’s very good. He has a really good midrange shot. He’s capable of putting the ball down and taking it to the basket. Very unselfish player, so he makes the right play.”