Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans were back on the court last night, and fans were very excited to see him back in action. Williamson hadn’t played very many games prior to the Coronavirus shutdown, although he had certainly proven himself to be among some of the most exciting players in the entire league. Having said that, it was disappointing to see Williamson on a minutes restriction last night.
Williamson missed some of the team’s training camp as he had to tend to a family issue. This forced the team and head coach Alvin Gentry to limit him to only 15 minutes. In a new report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, the reasoning behind this minutes restriction was explained.
Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images
Per The Athletic:
“Williamson, whose unique combination of linebacker size and incredible torque require so much caution as the Pelicans prioritize the bigger picture here, had practiced in a five-on-five setting a total of only four times since the league was shut down on March 11 because of COVID-19.
What’s more, he missed 13 days of work after leaving the bubble on July 16 in order to attend to an urgent family matter (including his four-day quarantine when he came back)… The Pelicans’ concerns about what might happen (again) if he did too much too soon after that kind of layoff from real five-on-five runs inspired the choice.”
Clearly, Zion has a lot of work to do before getting back into shape, which is something that has been an issue for the rookie since joining the Pelicans last summer. Hopefully, both sides can figure it out soon, as the Pelicans are in the thick of a playoff race.