"I don't think you're ever 100 percent," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said before the game. "It's one of those deals -- it's an injury. You go out and play with it, and you do the best you can."
Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler also started Saturday after missing the past two games because of an illness. Butler had not played since Monday night's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, during which he was battling a fever and body aches. Butler did not travel with the Bulls to Washington, D.C., and New York City as he recovered.
"He lost 10 pounds," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game. "Niko [Mirotic] has lost a lot of weight as well. We'll obviously keep a close eye on Jimmy tonight. Probably get him out a little bit early. But a lot of that will depend on the flow of the game."
Hoiberg said the Bulls practiced on Friday in large part so that Butler could get up and down the floor again after missing a few days.
"Jimmy, he had a good practice [Friday]," Hoiberg said. "We scrimmaged, we got up and down, a lot of that was for him to get some conditioning. He was tired but feeling obviously a lot better than he was last week."
Hoiberg noted that Denzel Valentine would be available for Saturday's game after missing Thursday's game because of the illness that is floating around the Bulls right now. Mirotic, who has missed the past two games because of the same illness, was out Saturday and will not play Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"It's nasty, obviously," Hoiberg said of the flu bug, which has hurt the Bulls and many other players around the NBA recently. "And it seems like there's a lot of it going around the league. It's keeping guys out for multiple games."
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade started against the Pelicans, but he will not travel with the Bulls to Memphis for the Grizzlies game. The absence will mark the fourth time Wade has sat out the second night of a back-to-back.