METAIRIE, The. — New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson has returned to court activities but will still be re-evaluated in two weeks with a strained right hamstring that has kept him out since Jan. 2. from January.
A two-week reassessment would be April 5, with the Pelicans having just three regular-season games remaining from that point: against Memphis (April 5), New York (April 7), and Minnesota (April 9). .
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Pelicans coach Willie Green said a return for Williamson before the end of the regular season was definitely a possibility.
“I can’t confirm if he’s going to come back or not, but we’ll see,” Green said Wednesday. “It’s extremely positive for him and for our team. It’s been another one of those years where he starts off well, makes an All-Star Game, and it’s been tough dealing with injuries. It’s part of the game, but it’s definitely been tough.”
“So I’m sure you’re relieved to start feeling normal again, being on the floor.”
Green said Williamson wasn’t doing much work on the court right now because the team was taking a slower approach with the injury.
Williamson originally strained his hamstring on January 2, but reinjured himself before the All-Star break while preparing for his return.
“He’s starting to move a little bit, run a little bit, throw a little bit,” Green said. “But we’re taking it a little slow.”
Green added that Williamson was “thrilled” to be taking the next step in his rehabilitation process and doing more basketball activities.
The Pelicans are 35-37 and tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for 11th place in the Western Conference standings. They are 1.5 games out of sixth place, and they can avoid the tournament entry.
Williamson is averaging 26.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in his 29 games this season and would certainly be a boost to a team that hasn’t been the same without him.
New Orleans was 23-14 when Williamson was hurt, and the Pelicans’ 12-23 record without him puts them in the bottom five in winning percentage since.
Pelicans point guard Jose Alvarado, who has been out since Feb. 27 with a stress reaction in his right tibia, has shown gradual improvement and will continue his rehabilitation process and will be re-evaluated in two to three weeks.