Zion reenters NBA bubble, will begin quarantine

Zion reenters NBA bubble, will begin quarantine

New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson returned to the NBA campus on Friday night, the team said in a statement.

Williamson, who initially left the bubble in Orlando, Florida, on July 16 to tend to a family medical emergency, will rejoin the team on Tuesday after a four-day quarantine period, a source told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

“My family and I appreciate the love and respect that everyone showed us while we dealt with a private family matter,” Williamson said in a statement released by the team. “I’m excited to rejoin my team in Orlando and look forward to getting back on the court with my teammates after quarantine.”

Williamson was being tested for COVID-19 while he was away, and was testing negative.

Williamson, if cleared by the NBA after his four-day quarantine period, would be available to play when the Pelicans open up seeding games on Thursday against the Utah Jazz.

However, a source told ESPN that Williamson’s status for that game is up in the air, as the Pelicans will be cautious with his return. He returned to the bubble eight days after leaving, and a four-day waiting period would stretch his time away from the team to nearly two weeks.

Williamson has played in 19 games this season for New Orleans after missing the first 43 games recovering from meniscus surgery and another game in February with a sprained ankle.

When he was on the court, he was a force. Williamson averaged 23.6 points on 58.9% shooting while also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. His offensive rating (113.5) and defensive rating (103.1) were the best on the team, and his net rating (10.4) was nearly double that of the next highest Pelican — Derrick Favors (5.8).

In its first scrimmage game on Wednesday, New Orleans defeated an undermanned Brooklyn Nets squad 99-68.

The Pelicans will take on the Denver Nuggets in a scrimmage on Saturday before wrapping up with their third exhibition against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

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