Mitch Lawrence: The Pelicans will know a lot more after practice this week, but it sure sounds like we’ll get the long-awaited NBA debut of Zion Williamson on Thursday vs. the Jazz. That’s the plan, anyway, per sources.
Malika Andrews: Zion Williamson, who is not playing against the Knicks tonight, is shooting around at Madison Square Garden with a sleeve on his right knee. He’s taking off of both his right and left legs.
Williamson had a major breakthrough in his return from October surgery for a torn meniscus, practicing fully for the first time on Thursday. Sides have been mum on an exact return date, but both he and the Pelicans remain hopeful of a January season debut, league sources tell The Athletic.
Gentry also added that the team does not have a date in mind for when Williamson will play in a game, but they are monitoring his progress in practice to see when the best time for that will be. "I know that's typical but we really do have to take it a day at a time to see what kind of progress he makes," Gentry said. "See what happens after he goes through practices and things like that. Like we said and will continue to say, he'll play when the time is right for him to do that. When that is, I'm not real sure of. But I know he's making progress, that's the thing that matters most."
Everywhere you turn in New Orleans, someone is asking when rookie Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut. Things are becoming a bit clearer because the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft went through his first full practice since he had surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 21. New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was in Wal-Mart when a lady on a motorized scooter stopped him to ask about Williamson's return. Williamson himself said little kids are coming up asking him about getting back on the floor because they see him on the court in their video games.
Will Guillory: Zion on when he'll be ready to go: "It'll probably be one of those moments, like when it came to my college decision, I'll (wake) up and I'll know."
Stadium: “I’m told both sides are hopeful of a January season debut for (Zion) Williamson.” As the calendar shifts to 2020, NBA Insider @ShamsCharania shares the latest on the Pelicans No. 1 pick.
During the Pelicans’ last road trip, Williamson was only doing shooting drills before games. He did more off-the-dribble work with assistant coaches before Saturday’s game and with that added freedom he decided to put on a show for the people who were in the building a few hours early. For the first time since his injury, Zion was seen throwing down a few of his signature rim-rattling dunks, showing that he’s inching even closer to his long-awaited NBA debut with New Orleans.
New Orleans fully anticipates Williamson to play this season, league sources said.
As for Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick is expected to begin contact drills and practices within the next week or two, according to sources. The Pelicans have not set a timetable for his return. This is a gradual progression due to the uniqueness of Williamson’s body and game, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound specimen the likes of which we have not seen in the NBA before.
If it were up to Zion Williamson, he already would have made his debut for the New Orleans Pelicans. That's what the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft told ESPN's Jorge Sedano before the Pelicans' 112-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Williamson told Sedano that he "trusts the organization" in its decision-making and said that his rehab process has been about more than just the recovery from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee.
The 19-year-old also said the Pelicans are trying to teach him how to walk and run differently -- working on the kinetic chain of his body. In the past week, Williamson has slowly started working his way back. He has done individual shooting drills and group drills but hasn't gone 5-on-5 or even 3-on-3 just yet, only 5-on-0 drills.
A source within the organization told ESPN that before Williamson makes his on-court return, the team would like him to undergo at least two or three practices doing full work. A source told Sedano the team is targeting just after the new year for those practices.
Kerry Eggers: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry on rookie Zion Williamson’s knee: “He’s doing some stuff with us in practice, but we’re taking it slow. He’s working his butt off to get back on the court. We’ll put him out there when he’s ready to play. It’s not going to be any big rush.”
Andrew Lopez: Zion Williamson is not yet a full participant in shootaround. He was out there today and was passing the ball around. Kenrich Williams said the guys responded well to seeing No. 1 back on the sidelines.
Greg Logan: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says #ZionWilliamson is on court but not cleared for contact. Just stand-alone shooting. Definitely won’t rush return.
Marc Stein: For the Pelicans, there was resignation in some corners around them over the weekend that prized rookie Zion Williamson may have to wait until the calendar flips to 2020 to make his official NBA debut
Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin went on the Pelicans in-game broadcast recently to talk about the return of Williamson and the team. There he said Williamson is progressing and added the obvious — that there will be some load management of Williamson upon his return. As there should be. “Yes, he very likely will not be asked to take the pounding of back-to-backs initially,” Griffin said on the team’s television broadcast. “There will be a sort of ramp-up for him to getting back to where you would call him full strength, but he’s certainly going to be playing, and we’re trying to win basketball games. And quite frankly, we’ve done a horrible job of that.”
Scott Kushner: Griffin said Zion “very likely” will not play back to backs when he first comes back. He said there will be a “ramp up process”.
Will Guillory: David Griffin on Zion: "He continues to progress, he's progressing really well. ... We have been much more cautious with how we've ramped him up from stage to stage bc he's 19."
Scott Kushner: David Griffin said “it’s fascinating that people there there’s any different agenda” regarding Zion. He said he continues to progress and feels very good.
Scott Kushner: Alvin Gentry said he was not made aware of any health setback for Zion Williamson. Said his focus has been on trying to get this team back to winning.
Sources confirmed that he has begun some light, on-court work with the team in recent days, but he still has a decent amount of work ahead of him before getting close to his pro debut. So, the gloomy drumbeat just kept on playing and those who were hoping Zion would be swooping in to save the day in the coming weeks, well, it’s time to temper those expectations.
Christian Clark: Today is 6 weeks since Zion Williamson's surgery. He has not started on-court work. Alvin Gentry: "Obviously, he’s itching to get back on the court and be able to do basketball things. In these situations, you sometimes have to protect players from themselves."
Will Guillory: Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson still hasn't been on-court activities but he hopes to get the rookie phenom going soon. Says the team will continue to be cautious with him until he's right.
There's still no exact date set for Zion Williamson's return to the court, but New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said the No. 1 overall pick is "getting better literally every day."
"He's progressing exactly as we had hoped he would," Griffin told the radio station. With the Pelicans on a three-game road trip, Williamson stayed back in New Orleans to continue his rehab process. "We're really optimistic, and most importantly, Zion is really excited and that's where we want him to be," Griffin said.
The original timeline for Williamson's surgery, which happened on Oct. 20, was six to eight weeks. Griffin said that while Williamson is on schedule, it's more likely he comes back at the latter end of that timeline. "Right now, I think we're on target for eight weeks," Griffin said. "Probably not to the day, but in and around that."
The Render: According to Reggie Miller, Zion Williamson will be back by mid-December. "A little birdie whispered in my ear that his rehab is on schedule and he will definitely be back by mid-December."
Will Guillory: Zion kills any thoughts of him sitting out much longer than the projected 6-8 weeks: "I'm not even gonna miss half of the season."
Glen "Big Baby" Davis says Zion Williamson needs to lose weight ASAP ... 'cause he tells TMZ Sports being the same size as the Pelicans star cost him his NBA career! "That’s one of the reasons why I stopped playing was because of my weight," Glen says. New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was not listed on the injury report Sunday evening and will be cleared to play Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Ingram left Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a head injury and did not play in the second half.
Davis says he was just too damn heavy during his playing days at around 289 pounds ... and blames the weight for 2015 ankle and foot issues that ultimately ended his NBA career.
Good news for Pelicans and NBA fans alike: Star rookie Zion Williamson (torn meniscus) has been in tremendous spirits and has attacked his rehab, according to sources.
Enter Salley ... who says Zion can turn the ship around if he turns his diet around. "My message to Zion? Go vegan, bro. Drink a bunch of water and find out the best way to heal your body, meaning ... not just ultrasounds, not just a hot tub, don't take pills." The 4-time NBA champ says Zion was destined to become teammates with Jahlil Okafor, who recently made the switch to "mostly" veganism and lost 20 pounds ... and Salley wants Williamson to listen to the vet. "Jahlil Okafor will put you on the whole path on losing that weight, getting your knee back in position and playing."
Are you confident he'll return before the end of 2019? David Griffin: Yeah, I would say so. I think he's going to be pushing us to let him come back a lot sooner than we want to, but I think if everything lines up the way we want it to we're very comfortable he'll do that.
Unfortunately for Griffin and the Pelicans, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson was not in attendance following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on Monday. Williamson is expected to miss six to eight weeks. “I would have loved for Zion to be there,” Griffin told The Undefeated. “But the way the surgery took place, you just weren’t able to move him. You don’t want to travel right afterwards. And you certainly didn’t want to wait to get the process done. There is no sense having him come up here and answer a whole bunch of questions when we knew what was going to happen. “We just wanted to take care of him as soon as possible. But absolutely, we would have liked him to see this.”
Sources with knowledge of the situation have told The Athletic that Williamson and the Pelicans cannot pinpoint one specific moment when the injury occurred.
Coach Alvin Gentry told reporters last week that Williamson may have suffered the injury on Oct. 13 against the Spurs. But Williamson had not felt pain or swelling in the lead up to the injury revelation and there was no specific moment of physical trauma suffered that either he or the organization can point to regarding the injury, according to sources.
The Pelicans do not believe Williamson’s frame contributed to his torn meniscus, nor do they believe it will be an issue moving forward, sources have told The Athletic. He was drafted with everyone involved knowing how special he is at his size and frame.
Finding Greg Oden's name trending on Twitter on October 21 isn't what the NBA had in mind just one day before Zion Williamson's expected regular-season debut against the defending champions. But that's where the NBA finds itself after the New Orleans Pelicans revealed the No. 1 overall pick underwent surgery to remove debris from a torn meniscus. "The term 'debridement' suggests Williamson was able to undergo a meniscectomy in which the damaged tissue was removed," Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com told me.
"The estimated timeline is exactly that, an estimate," Stotts said. "It seems likely Zion's recovery will be fluid, meaning he will be assessed as he progresses through rehab and treatment. The Pelicans medical staff will likely take a conservative approach and won't rush a return."
Will Guillory: David Griffin emphasizes he doesn't see Zion Williamson's weight as an issue with his rehab process: "The kid is a freak of nature." The team wants to take cautious approach, but Griff said Zion will be pushing to come back earlier than 6-8 week timeline.
The Pelicans do not believe Williamson’s frame contributed to his torn meniscus, nor do they believe it will be an issue moving forward, sources have told The Athletic. He was drafted with everyone involved knowing how special he is at his size and frame. Now, Williamson’s rehabilitation could mean less weight-lifting and more strategic planning, but the Pelicans plan to figure out the best method while letting Zion be Zion, and that does not include managing his weight.
Now, Williamson’s rehabilitation could mean less weight-lifting and more strategic planning, but the Pelicans plan to figure out the best method while letting Zion be Zion, and that does not include managing his weight.
Zion Williamson climbed onto the training table inside the New Orleans Pelicans’ practice facility last Wednesday and finally admitted something. That’s when the prized rookie informed the staff that he felt some tightness in his right knee, sources have told The Athletic. This admission came three days after a dominant 22-point, 10-rebound game against the San Antonio Spurs — which had been followed by a day off on Monday and a full participatory day of practice on Tuesday.
Once Williamson informed the Pelicans of how his knee felt, the team took the proactive measure of having him sit out the live practice on Wednesday and undergo an MRI. It was expected to be a precautionary MRI, but results showed a torn meniscus, and on Monday, Williamson underwent arthroscopic surgery and was ruled out six to eight weeks. Sources with knowledge of the situation have told The Athletic that Williamson and the Pelicans cannot pinpoint one specific moment when the injury occurred.
Chris Haynes: New Orleans rookie Zion Williamson will undergo further evaluations on right knee today and possibly tomorrow, but the organization is relieved the forward has avoided any major longterm issues, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Adrian Wojnarowski: A severe injury has been ruled out for Zion Williamson’s right knee, but he is expected to miss period of weeks to start regular season, league sources tell ESPN. Pels are clearly treating injury with an abundance of caution but there’s no shortage of confidence on full recovery.
Michael Gallagher: FWIW on ESPN, Woj said it’s “not your normal preseason rest” on Zion and there is knee soreness.
Zion Williamson's NBA Summer League experience ended after one half of basketball. And his former coach thinks he never should've played Summer League to begin with. "No, I thought really he never should've played just because he's been on this circuit of awards, the ESPYs, everything," Coach K told me at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., where he's recruiting this week. "I don't think he's in the playing shape or the mental shape to play."
"Yeah, he's OK," said Coach K, who remains in touch with both Williamson and Barrett, whom he says will end up being just fine with the Knicks despite his early Summer League struggles. "Zion will move forward from this issue without incident," said Pelicans executive VP David Griffin. "However, in an abundance of caution, we have made the determination that he will not appear in game action for the remainder of the NBA Summer League. He will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team."
Malika Andrews: Zion Williamson is done for the evening, the Pelicans PR says. He took a knee to knee hit (left knee) and won’t return. They do not expect it to be a lingering injury.
Many suggested Williamson, projected to be selected first in the 2019 NBA Draft, should have ended his collegiate career and focused on preparing for life as a professional. But as he prepares to make his return against Syracuse in the quarter-finals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday, Williamson says that was not an option for him. "For the people that think I should stop playing in college and just focus on the NBA: thanks, but no thanks," he told NCAA.com.
Duke Basketball: NEWS: Zion will miss tonight’s game at UNC as he continues to recover from a Grade 1 right knee sprain.
Marc J. Spears: Duke says forward Zion Williamson is out today versus Miami as he continues to recover from a Grade 1 right knee sprain.
But he’s emphatic when asked about Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson, whose knee injury renewed the heated debate over the NBA’s eligibility rules. “Why would you keep playing?” Drummond said Friday morning. “All the money that they making off this kid, why wouldn’t he just sit out? “He’s selling out arenas. People pay $10,000 to see him and he gets hurt and gets none of that money spent to see him play. You have to think about yourself because you could have a career-ending injury and that’s the rest of the story for him. I’d rather him take care of himself and get himself prepared. We all know he’s going to the draft so start working out and get yourself ready for a tough, grueling league.”
"Whatever he decides to do, he should be supported," Griffin said following the Pistons' 125-122 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. "If he didn't want to play anymore, I get it. But if you do want to play, he plays basketball, he's a basketball player. I also get that, too. You can't live or play the game of basketball playing scared of injury or scared of things you can't control. "It's an individual decision. I made the decision (to return to OU for his sophomore season) to improve my game. I wanted to get stronger and be more ready for the league when a lot of people were telling me not to, get that guaranteed money. "He's already made so money for that university, the NCAA, he doesn't owe anybody anything."
For two days, former and current NBA players weighed in on what Williamson’s next step should be; call it a career and prepare for the draft or rejoin his Duke teammates when healthy? “It’s a tough call,” said former Syracuse All-America Billy Owens, the third overall pick of the 1991 draft. “There’s a lot of money out there. I don’t think he should risk it.” “I know I would play,” said Coleman, who sat beside Owens. “As long as he’s healthy, why shouldn’t he play? He’s got a chance to win a national championship.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he has not had any conversations with Williamson or his family about shutting down the freshman star and projected No. 1 overall NBA draft pick, who missed Saturday's 75-65 victory over Syracuse with a mild knee sprain. Williamson suffered the injury 36 seconds into Wednesday's loss to rival North Carolina.
"We would never play a kid who's not ready," Krzyzewski said. "We would never play a youngster who didn't want to play. It's not about that. He wants to play. He loves being at Duke. He doesn't like being injured. It's an injury you can get over in a shorter period of time. There's just a protocol that we have to go through to make sure he's completely ready. We're not rushing anything, so that's why we said day-to-day because it's literally day-to-day."
Nike’s sneaker rivals, who are already pouncing on its sneaker snafu on Twitter, could seek to use the viral moment to convince Williamson — a top NBA draft pick — to wear their apparel instead of Nike’s once he turns pro, experts said. “Money is the most important consideration, along with your belief in the product — and that’s maybe not in Nike’s corner at the moment,” said sports lawyer Daniel Wallach.
“If he’s able to come back in the next game, or soon enough, then all of this goes away,” Wallach said. But if the injury was to prove more serious, then “this is a quintessential liability lawsuit,” Wallach said.
Royce Young: Paul George on Zion Williamson’s injury and situation with his shoes, says he talked with Nike to find out what went wrong: pic.twitter.com/pJ3N6CEdMj
Anthony Slater: DeMarcus Cousins: “Knowing what I know now, college basketball is b-------.” Advises Zion Williamson to get ready for the NBA. pic.twitter.com/k3B1JA0E42
Logan Murdock: Full quote from DeMarcus Cousins on the NCAA being “bullshit” and his advice to Duke’s Zion Williamson. pic.twitter.com/AcBmNokkPc
Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain in the first half against North Carolina on Wednesday, coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game. Just 33 seconds into the contest, Williamson ripped through his shoe and winced in pain while grabbing the back of his leg. The 6'7", 275-pound forward left for the locker room immediately afterward and did not return. "We’re very concerned about Zion," Krzyzewski said. "It’s a mild knee sprain. We will know about length of time tomorrow but it's stable so that's good, but obviously it changes the game. We were knocked back a bit but we fought like crazy."
May 26, 2022 | 2:50 pm EDT Update
Chris Haynes: Golden State Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. (foot) is not expected to play tonight in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Michael Singer: Have heard two names who could be joining Tim Connelly in Minnesota, per sources: Darrell Arthur and Dell Demps. Arthur recently started working for the #Nuggets, and Demps gave Connelly one of his first breaks in New Orleans. Both are very close with Connelly.
League sources say the Grizzlies have already signaled to agents that their pick at No. 47 will almost certainly be on a two-way, if it’s a domestic player at all, because there is just no room left to roster another player.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been named to the list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Teams in The World for 2022, as announced by Sports Innovation Lab. As part, the team ranks 11th overall and 4th across all U.S. professional sports teams behind just the Philadelphia 76ers (5th), Atlanta Braves (7th) and Dallas Mavericks (9th). In total, the U.S. list included nine NBA teams, three MLB teams, two NFL teams and one NHL team. This is the first time the Timberwolves have been named to this prestigious list.
Clutch Points: LeBron James stops by at the I Promise School and the kid’s reactions are priceless 😍 pic.twitter.com/NCBW54NpTb
May 26, 2022 | 12:37 pm EDT Update
And the Rivers rumors? Seems the players, and perhaps general manager Rob Pelinka, too, would rather see an experienced, win-now coach on the sidelines. “If LeBron could pick,” the executive said, “it’s pretty certain he’d pick Doc.” The exec was quick to point out that the Lakers had hoed to be united on the coaching front, considering their last foray into a coaching hire, in 2019, was bungled. The team pursued Ty Lue then but would not meet his contract request, and lost out on Monty Williams to Phoenix almost at the same time. Recently fired coach Frank Vogel was the Lakers’ third choice.
Most of the front office, it seems, has zeroed in on Darvin Ham, with former head coaches Terry Stotts (Portland) and Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn) also in the mix. Ham was briefly an assistant with the Lakers, and according to league sources, he is the favorite of the Phil Jackson-Kurt Rambis layer of Lakers decision-makers. “I think those guys want a young coach they can mold a little bit,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy.com. “I do not think Darvin is a pushover by any means. I just think that they want a guy they can point in the direction they want to go, more traditional basketball, using Russell Westbrook a certain way.”
“A lot of teams would rather have that Detroit pick than the Dallas pick, you have more flexibility with second-rounders and they won’t be that far apart,” one GM told Heavy.com. “If they can make a pick swap only, and it costs them the Dallas pick next year and the Detroit second-rounder, it is a lot to give up, but that could land them in the Top 4. It is a significant move for them.”