He was in the lineup Friday night against the Washington Wizards, although coach Alvin Gentry said before the game he didn't know how much the 6-foot-10, 270-pound Perkins would play because the Wizards use a lot of small lineups.
Gentry says the team expected Perkins to be out about two months. The team had said he was out indefinitely.
Perkins says he began practicing about two weeks ago and thought "I feel I can play right now. I feel I'm ready."
Power forward Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans' sixth man, missed the game with flu-like symptoms.
Gentry said the team had to "check it out and see that there's nothing contagious or anything."
The Pelicans begin a five-game, eight-day trip at Chicago on Saturday night.