It's been 331 days since Zion Williamson last suited up for the New Orleans Pelicans. But it seems the 21-year-old might make his return next week.
Is Zion making a comeback?
Contrary to Shams Charania's report that the Pelicans shut down their star forward for the remainder of the season, chatter is starting to pick up around The Association that Zion might be back in time for the team's playoff push.
Former MLB player Mike Mahtook revealed that an unnamed source told him that Williamson would be back on the court as early as the team's next home game -- the Pelicans are in the middle of a four-game road trip and will return to Smoothie King Center on April 8 to face the Trail Blazers.
"Our sources say that he was supposed to play 3 on 3 games but has skipped that and started playing 5 on 5 practice games and exhibitions," Mahtook said. "The Pelicans are on a road trip right now. What our source says is that when the Pelicans come back from the road trip, Zion Williamson will be playing basketball for the Pelicans next week... He's going to be activated and be playing basketball next week."
The Pelicans Report, a verified news source close to the organization, re-shared Mahtook's video. Jordy Culotta, a radio host who was the first to report about Zion dropping a video to show the Pels he's ready to play, then retweeted it.
Assuming this report has the merit the previous reports had, this could be huge for New Orleans in their pursuit of a Western Conference Play-In tournament berth.
Race for a play-in spot
With six games left in the regular season, the Pelicans (33-43) are 1.5 games ahead of the 10th-seeded LA Lakers. Their next game is at the Crypto.com Arena; a chance to win a second straight head-to-head matchup against the Purple and Gold and widen the gap in the race for the Play-In. Here's what the rest of their schedule looks like:
- Trail Blazers
Having Zion out there for the final stage of their play-in push would enhance the Pelicans' chances of making the tournament and eventually securing a playoff spot. Judging by his Instagram video, the star forward looks ready to go. And assuming the latest reports on Williamson are true, the organization seems ready to put him out there.
The race for the Western Conference Play-In just got even more interesting.