Pelicans' Anthony Davis returns to the lineup vs. Sacramento

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Heat guard Toney Douglas fouls Pelicans forward Anthony Davis as he goes after a loose ball during play at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Heat guard Toney Douglas fouls Pelicans forward Anthony Davis as he goes after a loose ball during play at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday, March 22, 2014.

All-Star power forward Anthony Davis will play in the New Orleans Pelicans' game Monday night against the Sacramento Kings, coach Monty Williams said.

Davis missed Saturday's game at the San Antonio Spurs with a left ankle injury. Davis was taken out of the previous game, at home Friday against Utah after playing just 3 minutes, 43 seconds due to pain in the ankle. He'd said he first experienced it during pre-game he warmups and, after an MRI, it was termed a "soft-tissue injury" the following day.

“He looked good (Monday) morning in shoot-around,” Williams said. “It's unfortunate he couldn't play (Saturday). We're just happy to have him back."

The Pelicans have not lost a game Davis has played in since March 14 against Portland.

Injured Pelicans guard Eric Gordon will not return to the lineup on Monday, missing his sixth consecutive game with left knee tendonitis. He has not played since the team's game at Atlanta on March 21.

Williams was asked whether, with just nine games remaining in the season and considering the heavy minutes Davis has played, he considered keeping him out the rest of the way.

“We never even talked about that,” Williams said. “He wants to play. And, with all the guys we have out, I think he kind of feels he needs to be out there, leading this team.

“And I think he feels like this is a great way to get conditioned for what we want to do someday. We want to be a team that plays well into May and, Lord willing, June someday. You have to get used to playing heavy minutes. So I think this is great conditioning for him.”

Williams said point guard Brian Roberts will return to the starting lineup against Sacramento. Roberts experienced a left-knee bone bruise and calf injury against the Brooklyn Nets and missed Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers as well as the Utah game before returning at San Antonio. He came in off the bench and scored 18 points and had five assists.

“He said he felt like himself again,” Williams said.

Roberts leads the NBA in free-throw shooting at 95.0 percent (114-120) but needs 11 to qualify for the minimum 125 to win the title. He has not missed a free throw since the March 4 game at the Los Angeles Lakers and has made his last 33 in a row.