Zion Williamson Still Not With Pelicans
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Zion Williamson has yet to rejoin the New Orleans Pelicans in Orlando. The rookie phenom left the NBA bubble on July 16 to deal with a family issue. The Pelicans are set to face the Utah Jazz on July 30 to reopen the NBA season.
According to the Pelicans, Williamson does plan to return to Orlando to finish the season, though that date is unknown.
“We fully support Zion’s decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time.”
Zion Williamson update: pic.twitter.com/eShAPl1gB2
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 16, 2020
How Quickly Can Zion Williamson Return to Pelicans?
How quickly Williamson can rejoin the Pelicans may depend on his access to testing outside of the bubble. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, the phenom will face a four-day quarantine if he tests negative for COVID-19 each day he’s outside of the bubble, assuming he’s gone for seven days or less. Should Williams be gone longer than one week, he will have a four-day quarantine if he registers negative tests over the final seven days of his absence.
If Williamson is unable to record negative tests, he’d be subject to a 10-day quarantine period upon returning to Orlando.
Zion Williamson will quarantine for 4 days upon return to the NBA's bubble if he has a negative test each day he's outside the bubble if he's gone for 7 days or less, or each day for the final 7 days he's gone if longer than that. If he doesn't, he will quarantine for 10 days.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 16, 2020
However, the New York Times’ Marc Stein said there could be more issues in play regarding Williamson’s return.
“Among the variables that the league is expected to factor in to its decision when determining the length of Williamson’s quarantine: Where specifically Zion went, his mode of travel and his frequency of COVID-19 testing while away from the team,” Stein tweeted.
Among the variables that the league is expected to factor in to its decision when determining the length of Williamson's quarantine: Where specifically Zion went, his mode of travel and his frequency of COVID-19 testing while away from the team
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 16, 2020
The Pelicans have been non-committal on Williamson’s return date, but are hopeful the star is available for the season reopened.
“Don’t know anything right now from the standpoint of Zion coming back,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.
“We played 44 games without him and we had a tough stretch in there. We also had a stretch where we won 12 out of 16 without him. Obviously he’s a great player that we’ll miss.”
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry when asked about a date for Zion Williamson's possible return the impact of losing him.
Zion left the NBA bubble Thursday morning to deal with an urgent family matter. pic.twitter.com/TpWjCJyiy5
— Fletcher Mackel (@FletcherWDSU) July 17, 2020
If Bontemps’ report is accurate regarding Williamson’s return protocol, the rookie could be ruled out of the season opener if he hasn’t been receiving regular negative tests over the past four days. On Saturday, Gentry said he hadn’t heard from Williamson since leaving the bubble.
The Jazz and Pelicans tipoff at 4:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on TNT and AT&T SportsNet.
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