Zion Williamson has a chance to play on opening night after the NBA announced his quarantine period upon returning to the Orlando bubble.
As Williamson tested negative for COVID-19 daily while out of the bubble, the league is requiring a four-day quarantine for the New Orleans Pelicans star. That leaves open the possibility that he could play on Thursday when the team resumes its season.
The NBA announces a four-day quarantine for New Orleans' Zion Williamson after he registered negative coronavirus tests every day while away from the team
It leaves open the possibility that Williamson could play Thursday against Utah on Opening Night 2.0
Williamson originally departed the bubble to deal with a family matter, but returned Friday. As long as he doesn’t register a positive test in the next few days, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be able to play next Thursday.
The standout rookie is averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 19 games so far this season.
The exact length of Williamson’s quarantine period is still to be determined but will be for a minimum of four days, per league protocol. The Pelicans are set to begin the restarted season in six days on July 30 against the Utah Jazz, so Williamson’s status for that game seems very much up in the air.
The Pelicans say that Williamson has been tested daily while away from the team and continues to be negative for COVID-19. Williamson will have to follow NBA protocol upon his return to Orlando. It’s possible that his daily negative tests while away from the team could impact the length of time he will have to quarantine upon his return, which would be for a minimum of four days.
Williamson averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games before the NBA season was postponed. The Pelicans are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has left the NBA’s bubble campus in Orlando, but he is expected to return at some point when the season resumes.
The Pelicans announced on Thursday that Williamson has left Walt Disney World to return home because of an “urgent family medical matter.” Williamson is expected to rejoin the Pelicans at a later date, though it’s unclear if he will return before the season resumes on July 30.
Williamson will have to follow quarantine protocol when he returns to Orlando, which could impact the timeline for when he is cleared to rejoin his teammates and/or play in games.
Williamson averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games before the NBA season was postponed. The Pelicans are 3.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference, so it would be a huge blow if they don’t have Williamson for any of their remaining regular season games.
Zion Williamson apparently spent the quarantine period taking a page out of the book of another former No. 1 overall pick in Tim Duncan.
The New Orleans Pelicans rookie told reporters this week that he relearned his fundamentals during the time off, adding that he was working with his stepfather, Lee Anderson, when he wasn’t rehabbing with team staffers.
“It just felt like I was 5 years old again,” he said, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “Just went back to square one, tried to get my body where it needs to be, get my fundamentals back to square one and start from there. So yeah, it was just like starting over at 5 again. It was a great process to learn it all over.”
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry also sounded pleased about Williamson’s work.
“His stepfather did a fantastic job of working him out every day, of making him be in good conditioning when we got him back,” said Gentry. “He’s made a lot of strides in his shooting, I think. Although we weren’t together, he did a lot to improve his game.”
Williamson, who just turned 20, ascended to stardom primarily because of his elite physical profile and athleticism. He averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 19 appearances before the season was suspended.
The latest development in the legal battle between Zion Williamson and his former marketing agent, Gina Ford, has the potential to be a huge one.
In a new court filing obtained by Daniel Wallach of The Athletic, Ford and her agency, Prime Sports Marketing, allege that Williamson and his stepfather were paid $400,000 to sign with another marketing agency in October 2018. Williamson was enrolled at Duke at the time.
BREAKING: Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent files “newly-discovered evidence” in North Carolina federal lawsuit. New affidavit claims Wiliamson and his stepfather were paid $400K in Oct. 2018 in exchange for granting exclusive marketing rights to another agent. pic.twitter.com/nDEznYsKr4
In response, Williamson’s legal team claimed the new evidence Ford filed is “patently fraudulent.” Williamson’s attorneys claim Ford’s filing included a fake driver’s license and a “clearly fraudulent” signature.
Zion Williamson’s attorneys are claiming that new evidence submitted by Gina Ford is “patently fraudulent.” Among their bombshells:
In 2019, Williamson filed a lawsuit in North Carolina against Ford, alleging that his marketing agreement with Prime Sports Marketing was invalid under the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Ford is not a registered agent in North Carolina and therefore, Williamson’s team believes a contract Williamson signed with her in North Carolina would be void.
“He looks amazing,” said Ball. “He looks fully healthy. He looks even stronger than he was before, if that’s even possible. But I was happy to see him, happy to see he’s in shape, and looking forward to playing with him.”
Ball displayed a very unique chemistry with the high-flying Williamson in the 19 games that they played together this season before play was suspended. The Pelicans had a ridiculous plus-15.2 net rating whenever the two shared the floor, per ESPN.