Anthony Davis could return next week after seeing hand specialists

Woj: Davis could return next week (0:43)

Adrian Wojnarowski breaks down how the Pelicans could have Anthony Davis return to the court as soon as next week. (0:43)

After conferring with outside hand specialists, New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis could return as soon as next week with a volar plate avulsion fracture of his left index finger, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN on Wednesday.

Davis will be reevaluated on Friday -- one week from suffering the injury -- and then again every 48 to 72 hours, Paul told ESPN.

Paul had concerns that Davis, a five-time All-Star, could be lost through the All-Star break, which begins Feb. 15. But those worries were quelled on Wednesday with consultations among hand specialists and the Pelicans' medical staff and organization, Paul said.

"It's a better outcome than we originally feared," Paul told ESPN. "It's more of an injury of pain tolerance. They need to see the swelling go down and the range of motion increase. We will proceed with caution as it pertains to Anthony."

This timeline for return fits closer to what the Pelicans' doctors believed upon Davis' injury on Friday in a loss at the Portland Trail Blazers.

Davis is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game -- all exceeding his career averages.

He has missed seven games because of injury or illness this season.

The Pelicans, 22-25 and three games behind the LA Clippers for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, are moving toward a difficult stretch of the team's schedule. The Pelicans are seventh in remaining strength of schedule, according to ESPN BPI.

If the Pelicans tumble out of the playoff chase, they'll enter into an uncertain offseason, when Davis could choose to reject a five-year, $240 million super maximum contract extension and leave the Pelicans with pressure to decide on whether they want to risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent in 2020 or need to find a trade to get a return of assets.