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Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole to Return to Pelicans Tonight

Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire

Tyreke Evans announced on his Instagram page today that he will be back and playing for the New Orleans Pelicans tonight when they take on the

Evans brief announcement was succinct and to the point:

Gm lets get it I’m not a hundred percent but happy to play today first game back #beastmode #takeflightshow.”

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry confirmed the announcement, telling John Reid of The Times-Picayune 

‘I would say that unless bizarre happens or they warmup and feel like they are not quite ready, I would expect for them to play,” Gentry said. ”Just realistically, it’s going to come down to how they feel after they warm up.”

Evans is a vital piece to the Pelicans’ roster and one they have sorely missed in their trudging start to this season. Last year, the Pelicans offensive rating with Evans on the court was 107.5 according to NBA.com and just 101.0 with him. This year it’s been a meager 100.8 in his absence. HIs all-around play, distributing and ability to score are all factors that helped the Pelicans’ offense to mesh. With his return, hopefully, things can start clicking again.

And Reid points out:

While playing point guard last season, Evans had 10 or more assists in 16 games, scored 20 or more points in 25 games, had 19 double-doubles and closed out the regular season as the Pelicans’ second-leading scorer (16.6) behind forward Anthony Davis. He also got to ball to Davis for shot opportunities.

Norris Cole will also be debuting for the Pelicans, and that should help too.

“I was excited coming in today and I’m excited about tomorrow (Tuesday),” Cole said. ”It’s a day-by-day thing, but I felt like today we pushed it pretty hard as a team.  I’m able to do most of the things that I’m capable of doing with that being case it’s only right to give it a shot.”

The struggling Pelicans have been hampered by injuries, but the returns of Cole and Evans, and the surprising struggles of the Western Conference mean there’s still room for postseason hope.

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