Zion Williamson a ‘game-time decision’ as NBA season resumes

After a four-day quarantine following his return to the NBA campus at Walt Disney World, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson participated in practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It remains to be seen if Williamson will compete in Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz, the teams’ first of the NBA restart.

“It’ll be a game-time decision,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters.

Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, produced impressive numbers after an injury-delayed start to the season, which was suspended on March 11 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In 19 games, Williamson averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Zion Williamson left for family matter

While 22 teams preparing for the July 30 NBA restart, Zion Williamson had to leave the bubble to be with his family. He left the Disney campus on July 16, then returned on July 24.

“I was gone for seven or eight days with an urgent family matter,” Williamson said, according to NBA.com. “Then, I had to sit in a room for four days. The NBA isn’t something you can usually just straight into, especially off of stuff like that. So, I think me and my team are gonna look to see what’s best and (see) if I’m ready to go out there.”

Zion added: “In the room for four days, I was able to do some body workouts just to keep my muscles going. While I was away, it’s tough to do stuff. I was dealing with a family emergency. So, it’s God first, then family. Basketball wasn’t really there. I was dealing with something serious.”

Coach’s outlook

Zion Williamson, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in October, could play limited minutes against Utah, Gentry said, citing a possible recommendation from the Pelicans’ medial personnel.

“That’s something that I would leave up to the medical staff,” Gentry told reporters. “Obviously as a coach, you’d want him out there as much as you possibly can have him out there. But we have guys that are better equipped to make those decisions than I am from just a health standpoint and a minutes-played standpoint. It’ll be collectively something that’s done by sitting down and talking about it, trying to figure it out, if he does end up playing.”

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