New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson was cleared to play by the team and will suit up in Thursday night’s NBA restart opener against the Utah Jazz, the team announced.
Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters that Williamson had to go through his pregame warm-ups before the team made a decision.
A league source told ESPN’s Malika Andrews that Williamson will play in “short bursts” but will have no solid minutes restriction.
Williamson made an appearance on the court shortly after Gentry relayed the news, sitting in a chair courtside for about five minutes before starting a short warm-up routine. He drove to the basket a few times, then shot a few free throws, and then missed on a number of corner 3-pointers, air-balling his first before eventually making one.
He then went back over to the bench, watched video for a few minutes and retreated to the locker room.
When Williamson returned from his knee injury in January that sidelined him for the first 43 games of the season, the team used similar terminology to describe his playing limitations. Williamson played 18 minutes in his first game, checking out after a 17-point outburst in the fourth quarter of his debut and just under 21 minutes in his second outing. He averaged 30.1 minutes per game in his five contests following that.
Williamson left the team for a family medical emergency on July 16 and didn’t return until eight days later. Once he was back on the NBA campus, he was in quarantine for four days, putting him at 12 days without team activity.
He was officially listed on the team’s injury report as questionable (re-conditioning).
In 19 games this season, Williamson averaged 23.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Information from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps was used in this report.