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Zion Williamson debut: Pelicans rookie expected to return to play in upcoming home game

pelicans rookie zion williamson ready for regular season debut
Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is expected to make his official season debut. Pic credit: New Orleans Pelicans/YouTube

It’s been a long time coming, but the official Zion Williamson debut is approaching.

The 2019 No. 1 draft pick for the New Orleans Pelicans has been sidelined since the preseason. However, the rookie is finally set to return for his team to try to show the world why he is such a special basketball star.

Williamson to debut against Spurs

Mark those calendars for January 22, as that’s when Zion Williamson will step foot on the court, this time to actually play in a game. According to Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin, Zion will debut when New Orleans takes on the San Antonio Spurs.

It should mark a special night as it’s home game for the Pelicans giving fans a chance to cheer their future star as he finally debuts.

Williamson was sidelined after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee. The injury required surgery and at least 6-8 weeks of recovery time.

It also required Zion learning new ways to walk and run so that he could potentially avoid future injury.

He’d eventually appear on the court ahead of games, putting up shots and even throwing down some dunks. Earlier this month, Zion showed more progress in his return when he took part in his first full practice since the surgery.

Williamson will participate in team practice sessions this coming Friday and Sunday. He’ll also travel with the team to Memphis for their game on Monday against the Grizzlies. That will feature No. 2 pick Ja Morant, a player many people feel is looking like a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Pelicans unlikely to rush Zion’s playing situation

Due to the nature of the injury and surgery, don’t expect Zion Williamson to take on too much of a load for the Pelicans, for now.

There were plenty of analysts and even fans who suggested the team should keep him out the rest of the season for a full recovery. It appears both Zion and his pro team are ready to see what he can do.

However, with bringing him back mid-season, they are showing some faith in the rookie’s abilities to help them win games.

Most likely, the team will proceed with caution in terms of Zion’s time on the court as they allow him to progress into the superstar he’s meant to be. Expect minutes restrictions or even the ever-so-popular load management to come into play with the rookie’s participation.

Time will tell if New Orleans made the right decision, but the possibilities of seeing the young phenom against some of the league’s best players this season is certainly exciting.

Matt Couden is a freelance writer for over 10 years. Matt more

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