We’re about to see Zion Williamson on the basketball court again.
According to Shams Charania and Will Guillory of The Athletic, Williamson has been cleared to begin basketball activities and will return to the New Orleans Pelicans.
This is great news for Williamson, the Pelicans and the fans. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that Zion might need a second surgery. Now, just like that, he’s back on track to possibly appear in a game before the end of the season. And with the Pels reaching playing position in recent days, news of Williamson’s possible return couldn’t come at a better time.
Zion out since last year
Williamson has not played in an NBA game since May 4, 2021. Just before summer league play during the offseason, Williamson fractured his foot, which required surgery. The Pelicans revealed him towards the end of September 2021, and they said they hoped he would be back in time for the regular season. He hadn’t come back in time for that, but he was making progress. By mid-November he was cleared for one-on-one practice and by the end of the month he was cleared for full basketball activities.
But that’s when Zion stopped moving forward and started backing up. Just five days after being cleared for full basketball activities, he experienced pain in his surgically repaired right foot. The pain persisted and he was banned from all basketball activities. He eventually got an injection in his foot, but in early January the Pelicans said Zion wasn’t even in rehab with the team — he was in rehab in Portland, Oregon, when he was still in the custody of the team.
Then we stopped hearing from Williamson for a while – although we found out that he and CJ McCollum, the Pels’ latest acquisition, hadn’t even spoken to each other since he joined the team. We also discovered that Williamson’s foot continued to have healing issues. Towards the end of February, Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that he might need a second surgery on his right foot, which would almost certainly put him out of action for the rest of the season.
That’s why Saturday’s news is such a welcome and unexpected surprise. With setback after setback, no one really expected to see Zion this season, so finding out he’s closer than ever to returning is exciting. Williamson may need some time to shake off the rust and get back up to speed, but this version of Zion is way better than an injured Zion.