Gentry told reporters Davis reached his minutes threshold before the fourth quarter began.
"We had talked about playing between 22 and 25 minutes," Gentry said. "That's why he didn't go back in the game."
Davis was playing for the first time since Jan. 18 after being diagnosed with a sprained left finger. He also made a high-profile trade request but was not dealt before Thursday's deadline.
Even though Davis was limited to 25 minutes in three quarters, he made them count with 32 points and a game-high plus-minus of plus-22.
The Pelicans are stuck in an uncomfortable position. They need to play their healthy superstar to avoid incurring fines from the NBA, but if Davis sustains a serious injury, it could significantly impact his trade value this summer.
Since there isn't going to be an easy solution to the situation in the season's final two months, Davis could ride the bench in the fourth quarter of many games moving forward.