Zion Williamson is playing on Thursday.
New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will play today against the Utah Jazz in the restart opener, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 30, 2020
Zion was quarantined after leaving bubble
Williamson left the bubble to tend to a family matter and returned last Friday, where he was immediately quarantined for four days, per bubble regulations. After a knee injury forced him to miss most of the season prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Williamson will start bubble play having missed a significant amount of practice time.
Williamson’s minutes were limited when he made his NBA debut in January, but his impact wasn’t. Williamson thrilled with a 22-point debut against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 22 and more than lived up to his sky-high expectations while averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 58.9 percent from the floor in 19 games.
Zion doesn’t want a minutes restriction
Williamson said on Wednesday that he hoped to play against the Jazz without a minutes restriction. Haynes reports that Williamson will play in short bursts, but won’t necessarily be on a restriction. That sounds similar to the plan the Pelicans used to ease him into the lineup after his lengthy layoff with a knee injury.
The Pelicans enter bubble play at 28-36, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’re one of six teams in the bubble that will be fighting for the No. 8 seed.
The Pelicans, 1.5-point favorites against the Jazz at BetMGM, will need Williamson for as many minutes as he can give them.
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