Zion Williamson clears quarantine, practices with Pelicans

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
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UPDATE: Zion Williamson practiced with the team Tuesday but did not do anything involving contact, according to coach Alvin Gentry. The coach would not commit to any status for Zion for Thursday’s opener.

Under the rules of the NBA restart, the Pelicans have to announce Zion’s status for the opener by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

If nothing else, Zion’s shot looked good.

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The Pelicans have little margin for error in the Western Conference playoff race.

So was nice for New Orleans that Zion Williamson – who had been away from the team for a family medical emergency – was expected practice “by Wednesday.”

Its even nicer for New Orleans that Williamson will practice Tuesday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Pelicans open seeding games against the Jazz on Thursday.

Every day Williamson practices counts.

He’s an explosive and large (even still) athlete who puts a lot of stress on his body. He must prepare properly before playing games, and it’s unclear how much training he did while outside the bubble then while quarantining upon his return.

If Williamson is ready, that’d be a huge boost for New Orleans. He’s a force offensively, an elite finisher who generates plenty of opportunities for himself and others. Though he’s an indifferent defender himself, the Pelicans defend better with him on the court because he allows more chances to set the defense (after baskets) and just inspires better effort from his teammates.

What a boost for New Orleans – hopefully one that will carry from practice today to the Utah game Thursday.