New Orleans Pelicans’ Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6) and Zion Williamson, right, walk off the court after an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson won’t begin participating in five-on-five drills until after Nov. 24 at the earliest, the club announced Tuesday.
Williamson has been cleared to participate in full-speed contact drills on a one-on-one basis after doctors reviewed imaging of his fractured right foot late last week.
The star forward is scheduled to have another round of scans done on Nov. 24, after which team physicians will decide whether to clear the 2019 top overall draft choice out of Duke for full team drills.
The Pelicans, who visit Miami on Wednesday night, have opened 2-13 without Williamson, an All-Star last season who led New Orleans with 27 points per game.
New Orleans is scheduled to play five more games before the earliest point at which Williamson could be cleared to participate on five-on-five drills at practice.
The club has yet to announce a timeline for Williamson’s return to playing in games. When the team initially disclosed Williamson’s injury at the start of training camp, both Williamson and basketball operations chief David Griffin said the goal was for Williamson to be ready to play in the Oct. 20 regular-season opener.
But that timeline was scrapped as the the preseason wound down and it became apparent that Williamson’s rehabilitation would be far more protracted than initially hoped.