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Omer Asik to return from injury, start for Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS -- After missing the past five games with a right ankle sprain, Omer Asik will returning to the starting lineup for the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday against the Utah Jazz, coach Alvin Gentry said pregame.

Meanwhile, Alexis Ajinca will sit out a second straight game with a fractured sternum. A timetable for his return has yet to be announced.

Tyreke Evans (right knee), Quincy Pondexter (left knee) and Bryce Dejean-Jones (right wrist) have already been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Their absences will bring the total of games lost this season to 183, according to data provided by Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com, putting the Pelicans in the top five in the league in that category in two of the past three seasons.

New Orleans has also used 28 different starting lineups this season, tied for most in the league with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Asik is averaging 3.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 17.3 minutes a game this season. His real plus-minus of minus-0.31 ranks 44th among NBA centers.