Sportress of Blogitude

Pelicans to be ‘overly cautious’ with Zion Williamson upon return

While there has been no date set for when Zion Williamson will make his long-awaited NBA regular-season debut, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said the team will be “overly cautious” when the rookie makes his return.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Gentry also noted that the Pelicans will have Williamson on a minutes restriction when his debut does arrive.

The initial recovery timeline after Williamson suffered a torn meniscus during the preseason on Oct. 13 was six to eight weeks, so the rookie’s rehab has gone well beyond initial estimates.

That said, Williamson has been ramping up his basketball-related activities in recent weeks. Last Tuesday, he took part in his first full practice since his surgery.

Showcasing how far along Williamson is in his recovery, the Pelicans on Monday shared footage of Williamson throwing down an aggressive dunk.

It of course makes total sense for the Pelicans to usher Williamson along slowly once he’s ready for game action. New Orleans (12-25) have the second-worst record in the Western Conference and are headed nowhere this season, even if Williamson lives up to the hype and delivers on his potential.

That said, Williamson has begun to show signs of frustration over his long layoff. Following last week’s practice action, Williamson said if it had been up to him, he “would have been out there two weeks ago.”

As far as when Williamson will indeed make his debut, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said over the weekend that the rookie will do so “when he’s ready.” Most insiders believe it will come sooner rather than later — barring a disappointing setback, of course — potentially within the next week.