Screencap from New Orleans Pelicans' Facebook video


Willamson on first practice with Pelicans after injury: 'I’m glad I’m back out there'

by Niel Victor Masoy, January 03, 2020 7:40pm

Zion Willamson finally returned to the court and had a full practice with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday (Friday, Philippine time) at the Pelicans’ practice facility.

And for the first overall pick of the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) Rookie Draft, he’s just glad to be back out there for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus he incurred before this ongoing NBA season started.

“It was great man, being back there out on the court… it was a great experience. I’m glad I’m back out there,” said Williamson in an interview with reporters livestreamed on the New Orleans Pelicans’ Facebook page.

Willamson shared that if it was just his call, he would have practiced two weeks ago. The 6-foot-7 forward, however, understands that he needs to be cautious and think of the long run when it comes to his health. And thus, he waited.

“If it was up to me, I would have been there like two weeks ago or something but it was just good to be back out there,” remarked the former Duke University Blue Devil.

“It’s been a hard balance because I am 19 and I just wanna get back out there, but from a professional standpoint, I do have to look at longevity.”

While Willamson already had a practice with the Pelicans under his belt, New Orleans head coach Alvin Gentry said the former Duke star won’t still be playing in the team’s road trip against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday and the Sacramento Kings on Sunday (both Philippine time).

Gentry said there’s no timetable yet for Willamson’s much-awaited NBA debut.

“No (Willamson won’t play on our road trip) that won’t happen, I’m pretty sure of that one,” shared Gentry, whose Pelicans team (11-23) is currently on a four-game winning streak.

“I don’t know there’s no date. We just have to take it a day at a time and see what kind of progress he makes. We’ll put him out there and he’ll play when the time is right for him to do that. What that is, I’m not really sure of. But I know he’s making progress, that’s the thing that matters most.” 

Willamson echoed the sentiments of his coach.

“To be honest, I couldn’t say. It’s probably one of those moments were just like when I came to my college decision. I woke up and I just know. I’m not trying to say something just to say something.”

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