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ICYMI: New Orleans Pelicans fans set to be thrilled as Zion Williamson throws down a vicious dunk in practice

Zion Williamson at the Suns-Pelicans game
Zion Williamson at the Suns-Pelicans game
Yash Verma

Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, has been out with a right foot injury for the entire season. With the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament, if Williamson were to return now, their chances of making the playoffs would go up considerably.

Although Williamson has yet to develop a jumpshot, his explosiveness around the rim is a major addition to the lackluster Pelicans. The trade that sent CJ McCollum to New Orleans has served them well, and with Devonte' Graham and Brandon Ingram, Zion will become one of the NBA's biggest lob threats.

ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth posted a clip of Williamson dunking before the Pelicans' play-in game last night:

ZION STILL GOT THAT BOUNCE 🔥(via @CassidyHubbarth)https://t.co/nJ1LJ1o5dR

Hubbarth also put out an update on Williamson's potential to return when the Pels visit the Clippers on Friday, with the winner earning the No. 8 seed:

"As it stands right now, though, Williamson has progressed positively from a healing standpoint and is playing in controlled five-on-five workouts ... but I am told a return to play is not imminent, and there's no chance we could see him in a possible matchup against the Clippers, let alone a series against the Suns (in the first round of the playoffs).
"However, the team is not ruling him out for the year yet. Simply, he's out indefinitely and not part of what they're working on at the moment."

His post-injury recovery looks to have paid off well. Concerns over Williamson's weight were also raised earlier in the season, with him looking out of shape on the bench. The latest update on Williamson's injury came on March 5, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson is returning to New Orleans after spending time in Portland for his foot rehab, sources tell me and @WillGuillory. Williamson is cleared to progress in basketball activities. Pelicans have won four straight games and are in playoff race.

Play-in preview: New Orleans Pelicans vs LA Clippers

CJ McCollum, left, and Terence Mann
CJ McCollum, left, and Terence Mann

The Clippers and Pelicans face off in the elimination game of the play-in tournament on Friday.

Paul George's return to the Clippers wasn't enough to see them past the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Seven-Eight Game on Tuesday, falling 109-104.

New Orleans went past the San Antonio Spurs on the back of 32- and 27-point performances from CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram respectively.

The Pelicans won the regular-season series 3-1, and two of those wins came without McCollum on the Pelicans but with Paul George playing for the Clippers.

The Clippers are the favorites to win the play-in game, with -190 on the money line.


Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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