New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson returned to the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World on Friday, after having left for a family matter, and is in the middle of a mandatory four-day quarantine.
“In theory,” Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Monday, Williamson will be released from that quarantine on Tuesday afternoon and could rejoin the team at practice on Wednesday.
Whether he’ll be ready for their first real game inside the bubble on Thursday night, however, remains to be seen.
“Literally any player on our roster who went 13 days without doing any physical activity, it isn’t going to be a given that we would just cut them loose in that next game,” Griffin said, via ESPN. “Particularly a player that generates as much torque as he does. So we will see where he’s at.”
Williamson averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games for the Pelicans this season before play was suspended. He left the bubble earlier this month due to an “urgent family medical matter.”
The Pelicans are slated to take on the Utah Jazz on Thursday, one of two games that day to kick off the league’s restart in Florida. New Orleans will enter the bubble with a 28-36 record, the 10th-best in the Western Conference and 3.5 games back from the Memphis Grizzlies — who currently sit in the final playoff spot.
Griffin not worried about bubble safety
Williamson was one of several players who have left the bubble for various reasons.
Though that has opened the NBA up to allowing the coronavirus to find a way inside, Griffin said he feels confident in the protocols the league has set up.
In his eyes, the real test has yet to come.
“The league does such a good job of being hyper-cautious when they bring players back to the bubble that I don’t really feel like that is where our jeopardy is,” Griffin said, via ESPN. “I don't think that is where we have any real kind of opportunity to sort of pop the bubble.
“I think the real issue is going to be as this goes along further and further, is there more and more pull to sort of break rank and just walk off campus? That is when you’re really going to see how well this is insulated.”
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