Anthony Davis had four points and four rebounds in his first game back after having missed 30 games due to a calf and Achilles injury in his right leg.
Davis logged 16 minutes in the loss to the Mavs, while shooting 2-of-10 from the field.
Frank Vogel said he expected Davis to have a slow start as he worked through the rust.
"He still needs to get his legs under him, as to be expected. You can't simulate NBA action on a practice court, so that's what tonight is going to be about. That's what the next few games are gonna be about.
"So we anticipate him having some rust and working out some timing while getting his legs back under him. But this is an important first step for sure," said Vogel following the game.