Pelicans announce expected return date for No. 1 pick Zion Williamson

Tanya Simon
January 16, 2020

Zion Williamson is expected to make his National Basketball Association debut in less than a week on January 22 against the Spurs, but the recovery process from his knee injury, his weight and the actual mechanics of his movements remain major talking points.

David Griffin, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations, told reporters Wednesday that the team anticipates Williamson being ready to play January 22 against the San Antonio Spurs at Smoothie King Center.

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Williamson is slated to join the Pelicans in practices Friday and Sunday, one day before New Orleans travels for a game Monday at Memphis. Williamson will likely not play in back-to-back games, either. Pelicans general manager David Griffin shot down those rumors on Wednesday, but the good news is Zion's return to the court isn't far off. The 19-year-old told ESPN last month that he "trusts the organization" even though the 6- to 8-week recovery plan has taken longer than expected. The Bulls already got smacked around by the Pelicans earlier this season in a 123-108 loss, so Williamson's return doesn't bode well for their chances this time around. The Pelicans now sit second-to-last in the Western Conference at a record of 15-26, however (much like the Eastern Conference), they're technically only four games back from a playoff spot.

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