Zion Williamson‘s NBA regular season debut is getting closer, but it’s still not imminent.
According to Kristen Ledlow of TNT (Twitter link), the Pelicans‘ much-hyped rookie “turned a corner” in his rehab process, but the club continues to err on the side of caution. As such, Williamson’s return will “definitely” come outside the initial six-to-eight-week window provided by the Pels.
A source tells Andrew Lopez of ESPN that Williamson has begun doing some on-court work, including “light walkthroughs” with the team, as well as spot shooting. In addition to needing to ramp up that on-court work and begin taking contact, the No. 1 overall pick will also have to reach certain conditioning benchmarks before he makes his debut, Lopez writes.
The Pelicans announced Williamson’s original six-to-eight-week timetable back on October 21, so the eight-week mark would fall on December 16. It’s safe to say we won’t see Williamson on the court before then, which means his earliest possible target date would be on December 17, when the Pelicans host Brooklyn.
There’s certainly no guarantee that Williamson will be back for that game against the Nets, but if he can make it back during that following week, it’d be good news for NBA fans. The Pelicans are participating in one of the NBA’s five Christmas Day games this year, and a healthy Zion would make that matchup vs. Denver a whole lot more interesting.