Pelicans star Anthony Davis day-to-day with strained groin muscle _lowres

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) grimaces as he is tended to after pulling his groin in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The Nuggets won 93-85. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


New Orleans Pelicans All-Star power forward Anthony Davis' status is day to day with a strained groin muscle, Coach Monty Williams said Thursday morning after practice.

“He's got a Grade 1 adductor strain, and we'll just re-evaluate (Friday),” Williams said.

Davis had an MRI on Thursday as expected, was undergoing treatment and did not meet with the media. The Pelicans play the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at Smoothie King Center.

“He's walking around, nothing to break a sweat,” Williams said. “But he's walking around normal.”

Davis, named a Western Conference starter last week for the Feb. 15 All-Star game in New York, incurred the injury at 1:15 of the third quarter of Wednesday's game against Denver at Smoothie King Center, when he locked arms with Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried and tumbled out of bounds. Davis was escorted to the locker room by Pelicans medical staff but returned at 8:44 of the fourth quarter.

A Grade I strain is when a small number of muscle fibers are torn but function is retained. With a Grade 2 strain, function is moderate. With a Grade 3, all function is lost.

Williams said Davis was allowed to return against Denver because doctors determined he was not in danger of aggravating the injury. He said if Davis is ruled available for Friday's game, he will play “his usual 35 to 42 minutes.” He is averaging 36.0 per game.

Williams said a “chain of people” will be involved in whether Davis plays Friday.

“The doctors will have their say, and then the trainers will treat him, and those guys will talk,” Williams said. “He'll have to go out on the floor and do his workout, and the coaches will come back to me and say, 'Hey, coach, he looks good.' If not, I won't hesitate to keep him out of the lineup.”

Williams, a former NBA player said, he's never had an adductor strain.

“I've seen it,” he said. “Sometimes, it can be a couple of days or a week or two. I don't know. We just have to see how he feels.”

Davis' injury comes with the Pelicans set to play the toughest part of their six-game home stand. New Orleans (24-22), in ninth place in the Western Conference playoff race, will play the Clippers, fifth in the conference, followed by the Atlanta Hawks, first in the East, on Monday. Then there will be a home-and-away set against the Oklahoma City Thunder, 10th in the West, on Wednesday and Feb. 6.

Williams said those games would be very challenging with Davis, but the important thing is the big picture regarding this season and also Davis' welfare.

“I know when a guy wants to play,” Williams said. “But I also know that if he plays and hurts himself, there's a chance it could hurt us going forward.”

The Pelicans had won four consecutive games before Wednesday, their longest winning streak of the season.

The injury is the third this season for Davis, who is averaging 24.3 points (third in the NBA), 10.4 rebounds, a league-leading 2.86 blocks as well as 1.62 steals. He missed the Dec. 14 home game against Golden State with a bruised chest. He missed three games from Jan. 16-19 during the team's Eastern road trip with a sprained left big toe.

With Davis out, the Pelicans beat the Toronto Raptors, who are third in the Eastern race and lead the Atlantic Division.

“We went to Toronto and beat them at full strength, so we know we can do it,” Williams said. “Our guys have to draw off of that.”

NOTE: Davis has had at least 21 points and 10 rebounds in each of the past four games. … The team had a light practice. Guard Tyreke Evans, who played through flu-like symptoms against Denver, worked after practice on shooting and said he felt much better although still a little week. The Pelicans discussed improving their 3-point defense during film study. The Nuggets shot 10-of-17. … Friday's game marks the return of former Pelican Austin Rivers, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft. He was sent to Boston on Jan. 12 in the trade that brought Quincy Pondexter to New Orleans. Rivers was then traded to the Clippers, coached by his father, Doc Rivers. He was averaging 3.0 ppg with Los Angeles in seven games.