Zion Williamson is expected to make his NBA regular-season debut Thursday, January 23rd when the New Orleans Pelicans take on the San Antonio Spurs.
David Griffin anticipates that Zion Williamson will make his debut at home on 1/22 vs. San Antonio.- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 15, 2020
Pelicans' Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin told reporters he "anticipates" the rookie will be ready in a week's time and that he's "radically improved physical version of himself" according to Will Guillory of The Athletic.
The 6-foot-6 powerhouse forward has been out since the start of the season after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus. The initial timeline, while never set in stone was 6-8 weeks.
Griffin told reporters on Wednesday that he did indeed consider shutting Williamson down for the entire season. He doesn't expect the rookie to play in Pelicans' back-to-backs. The rookie also won't have a minute restriction placed on him. That will be determined by his play according to Griffin.
Griffin said he doesn't expect Zion to play back to backs when he comes back. They don't play another b2b until March. So they won't know for sure until then.- Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 15, 2020
Williamson averaged 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds shooting 71.4% from the field in 27.3 minutes per game in the preseason.
All eyes will be on the rookie who may be joining the Pelicans at the right time as they surge towards the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
New Orleans has the fifth-best record in the league since December 24th and find themselves just 4.0 games out of the last remaining playoff spot with half their season remaining.
According to Tankathon.com, the Pelicans have the 9th easiest remaining schedule based on opponents winning percentage.
More to come.