Six weeks later, Zion Williamson still hasn’t started on-court work with Pelicans

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

It’s been six weeks since No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson underwent surgery on his knee.

Though he was given a six-to-eight week recovery-window and is “itching” to get back on the court, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said on Monday that Williamson has yet to participate in any on-court work in practice — potentially delaying his return even longer. 

“I think he’s fine,” Gentry said Monday, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I don’t think it’s anything that can be rushed. I think it’s a time thing. Six weeks is what we said, but obviously, he’s making progress.

“When the time comes for him to start on-court and do things like that, he will. It’s not anything that’s going to be rushed or any shortcut. It’s a matter of taking the time to make sure he’s fine.”

Williamson underwent arthroscopic surgery in his knee to repair a torn right lateral meniscus in October. Pelicans vice president David Griffin said two weeks ago that Williamson was “getting better literally every day,” and that he was still “on target” to return within the six-to-eight-week window.

However at this point, it’s likely that Williamson’s return will be later rather than sooner, and both Griffin and Gentry seem fine with that fact. 

While it’s obviously not what they wanted — especially given their slow 6-14 start to the season and current five-game losing streak — pushing a player like Williamson back too fast could have a devastating impact on both his career and their organization as a whole. 

Regardless of how badly Williamson may be ready to play, Gentry said they will be “overly cautious” with him.

“In these situations, you sometimes have to protect players from themselves,” Gentry said, via the Times-Picayune.

Zion Williamson is “itching” to return to the court, but still hasn’t resumed practices completely with the Pelicans after knee surgery. (AP/Matthew Hinton)

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