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Pelicans expect Anthony Davis to play in regular season-opener

March 03, 2016: New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts to a play during the NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. (Photograph by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)
Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire

The New Orleans Pelicans believe that big man Anthony Davis will be ready to return from his sprained right ankle in time for their October 26 regular season-opener against the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN. Davis originally injured his ankle during the team’s preseason trip to China.

The report also indicates that the Pelicans are leaning toward giving the veteran big man some playing time during their final preseason game on Thursday against the Orlando Magic after he practiced on Wednesday without any issues.

Davis is entering his fifth NBA season and is already a three-time All Star. Through his first four seasons in the league, he has developed as one of the most unique and productive two-way players in the NBA. He has averaged 20.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over his career and led the league in blocks per game in both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons.

Last season, Davis expanded on his all-around game by adding an outside shot. He attempted 108 three pointers after attempting only 27 in his first three seasons combined. He shot respectably for a big man at 32.4 percent, which is certainly enough to keep opposing defenses honest when he receives the ball on the perimeter. His unique ability to take opponents off the dribble makes the addition of a long-range shot scary for teams planning on defending him.

Due to myriad injuries in 2015-2016, the Pelicans missed the playoffs with a 30-52 record. They largely stayed quiet this offseason, but a cleaner injury sheet and the addition of sixth overall draft pick Buddy Hield figures to put the team firmly in the Western Conference playoff picture.

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