Zion Williamson limited to 15 minutes, on bench as Pelicans lose late

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5:forty four PM ET

For the 2nd time this season, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson’s “debut” was once marred via a minutes restriction that kept him off the floor of an in depth sport in the final minutes.

Williamson debuted Jan. 22, and after his 17-level outburst nearly blew the roof off the Smoothie King center in New Orleans, the rookie headed to the bench for the final 5:23 and the Pelicans ended up shedding to the San Antonio Spurs.

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Zion Williamson limited to 15 minutes, on bench as Pelicans lose late

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On Thursday night as the NBA restarted its season with Williamson and the Pelicans within the first sport, he used to be once more absent in the remaining minutes in what turned into a 106-104 New Orleans loss to the Utah Jazz in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Williamson used to be set to play a predetermined number of minutes and had reached his quota when he exited within the fourth quarter with 7:19 last as New Orleans clung to a 4-level lead. He didn’t return whilst the Jazz took the lead, or with 6.9 seconds final because the Pelicans had a chance to tie or win, down two.

Zion Williamson restricted to fifteen minutes, on bench as Pelicans lose late

“after all we want shall we’ve performed him down the stretch, however we used the minutes that were given to us and that’s the way in which it’s,” Pelicans instruct Alvin Gentry said.

“We weren’t going to stay him again out there. The clinical people said we played them in the minutes that had been allowed for us to play him, and simply transfer on. i assumed he seemed just right, i believed he had some good moments, and obviously we’re a a lot better and completely different crew when he’s out on the ground.”

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requested whether it was once basically a conditioning problem with Williamson — who ignored the first 43 games of the season on account of knee surgical procedure — Gentry said, “I was once instructed the minutes that he might play, and that is the reason what I did.”

In complete, Williamson played quarter-hour in opposition to the Jazz and scored 13 factors on 6-of-eight taking pictures. He did not pull down a rebound for the primary time in his younger NBA profession. He also committed three fouls, had two turnovers and was a occupation-worst minus-sixteen.

Williamson said it’s “not even simply conditioning” but getting again his glide and feel for the sport.

“that is the NBA, this is the most effective gamers on the earth, and you wish to have to feel relaxed,” Williamson said. “i do not wish to damage my staff more than I helped them in a way, should you remember me.”

Williamson left the Orlando bubble on July sixteen to are likely to a family scientific emergency and again on July 24. as soon as he used to be again on the NBA campus, he had to quarantine in his resort room for 4 days.

He left quarantine Tuesday and joined the Pelicans for observe however didn’t do any 5-on-5 or three-on-3 work. He practiced again with the team Wednesday — although Gentry referred to as that a light apply — and went thru shootaround Thursday morning. He used to be a recreation-time resolution for the opener in opposition to the Jazz.

Williamson stated the staff wasn’t conserving him again and even though he did need to be on the floor late in the fourth quarter, the crew may easily have held him out totally.

So how long will it take to get his waft again?

“truthfully, I have no idea how long it can take,” Williamson said. “i guess possibly a pair games.”

Williamson maintained that he hadn’t had any setbacks while conditioning but mentioned it felt like January once more when it got here to sitting out down the stretch.

The loss dropped New Orleans to 4.5 games back of the eighth seed within the Western conference with seven video games to play. New Orleans returns to action Saturday in opposition to the LA Clippers before taking on the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

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