If you want, you can focus on how often Anthony Davis gets knocked down.
Alvin Gentry prefers to note how he gets up again.
The Pelicans forward — who is listed as doubtful with a concussion to play in Thursday’s home game against Sacramento — has had his share of spills this season and in his career and has missed enough games to raise questions about his durability.
But you won’t hear Gentry complain about the number or the nature of Davis’ injuries, which he said Wednesday are the result of playing with “reckless abandon.”
Whoever says Davis is too frequently hurt “obviously is not a coach,” Gentry said.
“You love when guys are willing to sacrifice and play that way,” Gentry said. “It’s unfortunate that you get hurt, but it’s all part of it. When you play hard and you play all-out like that, these kinds of things are going to happen. But I do know that as soon as he can play again, he plays again. To me, that’s the most important thing.”
When Davis can return from his current injury is, to a degree, out of New Orleans’ hands.
Davis, who leads the Pelicans in points (22.9) rebounds (10.2) and blocked shots (2.4) per game, caught an inadvertent elbow to the head in Monday night’s loss to the Rockets from teammate Tyreke Evans as both players pursued a rebound.
He left the game late in the second quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion.
That subjects Davis to the NBA’s return-to-activity protocol, which requires the Pelicans to confer with the league before the 6-foot-10 forward can get back on the court.
As of Wednesday, Davis was still going through the protocol, Gentry said. The Pelicans didn’t expect to know his status until Thursday.
“I just talked to him and he seems fine,” Gentry said. “But obviously there’s things that they have to see on paper that makes him fine.”
That includes passing an exertion protocol that requires a series of steps of increasing exertion — from a stationary bike to jogging to agility work to non-contact team drills.
With each step, Davis has to be symptom-free to move to the next step. If concussion symptoms recur, he restarts the process at the previous step.
There is no set time frame to complete the protocol.
Davis was with the Pelicans for practice on Wednesday, which Evans called “a good sign,” and Gentry said Davis had improved since Monday night, when he went to the floor after the elbow and lay there clutching his head before being helped to the locker room.
For the Pelicans, an injured Davis has become too frequent a sight. New Orleans is 0-5 this season in games he’s missed because of injury and 1-3 when he’s left in the first half because of injury and not returned.
Davis has missed two games with a right hip contusion, two with a back contusion and one with a left shoulder injury.
Those injuries have been outside Davis’ control, Gentry said. He called the concussion a “perfect storm,” saying that as Davis and Evans pursued a rebound, Davis got hit in a part of the head where if “boxers get hit, they go down.”
And though Gentry joked last week that Davis has permission not to pursue loose balls into the stands — a dive into empty seats caused the back contusion — he said Wednesday he doesn’t want his star player to “pull back.”
“I think you got to play the way you play, and you can’t tell a guy to back off,” Gentry said. “I have a tough time doing that. I’m not going to tell him, although every time he dives for a ball, I hold my breath.”