Just two weeks prior to the scheduled NBA restart in Orlando, Zion Williamson left the NBA bubble on Thursday, July 16 to attend to an urgent family matter. This put his availability for the season restart in jeopardy with no clarity on his return date. Then there was the situation regarding his quarantine period upon return.
Zion Williamson returned to Disney World on Friday night and the Pelicans waited with bated breath to get an official confirmation on the length of the quarantine that he will have to observe. As reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Zion will have to be in quarantine for only four days.
Since Zion was away for nine days, it must mean that he tested negative for each of the last seven days for him to be ordered to quarantine for only four days. He will be, therefore, available for selection for the New Orleans Pelicans' game against Utah Jazz on Thursday night.
At the same time, Zion Williamson would not be having any match practice under his belt. Given that Alvin Gentry has been very cautious with his usage throughout this season, it will be interesting to see if he decides to play Zion at all in the season restart game.
Zion Williamson's incredible season so fa
A knee injury and the subsequent season suspension allowed Zion Williamson to only play 19 games this season. While that won't be enough for him to take home the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, he still managed to break a few records.
Also read: Predicting the winners of 2019-20 NBA Awards
Zion, who turned 20 only recently, scored 20 or more points in 13 consecutive games, the highest for a teenager in the history of the league. He has averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season while shooting at nearly 59% from the field.
New Orleans Pelicans' playoff push
The New Orleans Pelicans will resume proceedings in Orlando 3.5 games adrift of the Memphis Grizzlies who hold the eighth seed in the West. On paper, the odds look in the Pels' favor given their easy schedule.
However, New Orleans have gone 18-27 with Zion in their lineup despite having veterans such as Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick as well as Most Improved Player candidate Brandon Ingram. So Zion Williamson will have a key role to play in his side's quest for a playoff berth.
Published 25 Jul 2020, 21:14 IST