New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson is “itching” to get back on the court.
He’s also not close to that yet.
Monday was the six-week mark since Williamson had surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee. That seemed a good time for Christian Clark of the Times-Picayune to ask Gentry for an update. The answer is Williamson wants to get back as soon as he can, but he has yet to start on-court work.
“I think he’s fine,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said after practice Monday. “I don’t think it’s anything that can be rushed. I think it’s a time thing. Six weeks is what we said, but obviously, he’s making progress. When the time comes for him to start on court and do things like that, he will. It’s not anything that’s going to be rushed or any shortcut. It’s a matter of taking the time to make sure he’s fine.”
Gentry added that the Pelicans are going to be “overly cautious” reintegrating Williamson, who has watched from the sidelines as his team has gotten off to a 6-14 start.
“In these situations, you sometimes have to protect players from themselves,” Gentry said.
While the team gave a 6-8 week timeline for his return, Zion playing on Christmas day was always optimistic because of the level of caution the team has with him. Remember, the Pelicans sat Williamson for all but one half of Summer League after a reported minor bruise.
Williamson is projected to be a franchise cornerstone and the face of the franchise, and with that it can be worth the wait. Ask a Sixers fan about Joel Embiid.
Expect Williamson to get on the court later this season, they want him to gain some experience, but the Pelicans are simply going to go slow with this return. This is not a contending, win-now team, they can afford to be patient.