New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has progressed to doing full-court work, but there is still no definitive timetable on his return to competitive play.
Williamson participated in a pregame scrimmage with Pelicans player development coaches and some players at the end of the roster, Pelicans coach Willie Green said on Thursday prior to New Orleans’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
« But he’s playing in more of a controlled scrimmage. That where he’s progressed to, » Green said. « Past that, there’s no update on him. He is where he is. »
Officially, Williamson has still been listed as out on the injury report, and the team says he remains out indefinitely.
Williamson progressed to one-on-one work on March 23 and recently traveled with New Orleans on the team’s most recent four-game road trip to continue his rehab progression with the Pelicans’ training staff.
« The beauty of it is that it’s good to see him on the floor, » Green added. « I think he’s feeling more normal, the fact that he gets to play basketball. That’s what he wants to do. That’s what he loves to do. We just want him to get as healthy as he can and continue to progress in that way. «
New Orleans has three games remaining in the regular season: Thursday at home against Portland, Saturday at Memphis and then back home on Sunday against Golden State.
The Pelicans have qualified for the play-in tournament and will be in the 9-10 game against San Antonio, although the host of that game is still to be determined. If the Pelicans win that game and beat the loser of the 7-8 game, they’d advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18. Williamson has not played in a game this season after fracturing his right foot in the offseason.
On Tuesday, Williamson’s stepdad, Lee Anderson, spoke to « The Jordy Culotta Show » in Baton Rouge and said that he « expects » Williamson to play this season.
« I expect him to play. If you were to ask Zion, I’m sure he would probably say the same thing, » Anderson said. « But with just a couple of games left, with the magnitude of what’s going on in New Orleans and the opportunity to qualify for the play-in game and possibly get into a seven-game series, that would be off the charts in the city of New Orleans. That would be a plus in New Orleans. That would be a plus for Zion with the way things are right now.
« Do I expect him to play? Certainly I do. That’s on me, though. That’s purely me. I don’t think there’s anything else that would hinder him from doing that right now. »