Davis had missed 11 games because of what trainers called a stress reaction in his left ankle, a condition which could have led to a fracture if not rested and treated.
Davis played 25 minutes coming off the bench and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the Hornets' 77-70 home loss.
The rookie out of Kentucky was off to a strong start to his NBA career before being sidelined, averaging 16 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in six games. He also missed time earlier this season with a concussion.
During his most recent 11-game absence, New Orleans went 2-9.
The Hornets still await the return of guard Eric Gordon, who has not yet played this season because of a right knee injury.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.