Since the start of the season, the New Orleans Pelicans have been without the services of prized rookie big man Zion Williamson due to his recovery from surgery in mid-October to repair a torn right lateral meniscus in his right knee. Williamson has been on the shelf with a steady recovery from the injury that had yet to have any clarity if he would be ready in time between the original six-to-eight week timetable. With the beginning end of that spectrum now coming up, there is a significant update on that front.
Zion Williamson bringing hope to New Orleans
Following the entire situation with star forward Anthony Davis wanting to move on from the franchise, the Pelicans were put in a state of influx with their face of the franchise.
Those questions and hopes about the future of the organization were answered with the Pelicans landing the first overall pick that allowed them to take the Duke phenom at the top spot. Williamson’s presence has injected an entirely new sense of optimism into the city and team about the bright future ahead.
The 19-year-old displayed much of that promising play in the preseason behind his unique athleticism and energy on the floor. However, Williamson was hit with an early setback in his career as he underwent surgery on his right knee just before the start of the regular season.
Williamson has been deep in the recovery process, but there was no chatter about his expected return date. There is now finally some clarity on that front.
When to expect Zion Williamson back
Williamson is quickly coming up the first half of the expected timetable for his return at the six-week mark, which has brought his recovery status to the forefront.
The conversation around him largely remained hushed, but it appears that he will be back on the court at some point in the second half of this month beyond the initial projection, according to Kristen Ledlow of TNT.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that the Pelicans are taking the precautionary approach with Williamson’s health. There is no reason to rush him back on the court before he’s ready, which should prevent any setbacks or mishaps physically along the way.
What has made this quite clear is that the team has yet to run him through on-court activities in his rehab, which is a telling sign about where he’s at physically. Williamson will have to regain his physical feel for the court again while working on becoming more in-game shape ready. That alone could take some time as he’s eased back into the mix.
Pelicans’ plan of action with Zion Williamson
Since Williamson has been out of the mix, the Pelicans have handled the situation with their promising rookie big man with kid gloves.
There has been zero rush in getting back on the court, while the franchise has continued to remain quite supportive of the 19-year-old. Williamson has a bright future ahead of him, which New Orleans is hopeful he can be the new face of the franchise that can lead their promising young core group.
In the meantime, the Pelicans appear to be more than content with letting Williamson move at his own pace in his recovery, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com.
“I don’t think it’s anything that can be rushed,” head coach Alvin Gentry said Monday. “When the time comes for him to start on court and do things like that, he will … It’s a matter of taking the time to make sure he’s fine.”
The Pelicans have performed better as the season has moved along, but there is a commitment with the front office to move forward with their young core group leading the charge. At some point in the next few weeks, Williamson will be on the court to head that charge in a progressively increasing role on the floor as his body gets back into form.