Metairie, La. -- For the first time since October, Zion Williamson was back to full practice with the Pelicans Thursday morning. The 2019 top draft pick, who had suffered a torn meniscus in the preseason, has been slowly working his way back to action but this was the first time he'd gone through a full practice with the team.
"I felt great today," Williamson said. "I felt really good out there.. Being back out there on the court-- literally on the court with those guys-- was a great experience. I'm glad I was back out there.
While his teammates and coaches were encouraged to see him back out on the court, Head Coach Alvin Gentry was quick to add that they "didn't do a ton of really hard things today."
So the next question is: What does this mean for Zion making his first appearance in a regular season NBA game?
The consensus answer was that there is still no exact date for when he will return to game action. Gentry initially joked with the media saying Zion would be back "sometime in the next two months," but continued:
"There is no date," Gentry added. "We just have to take it a day at a time. I know that's typical but we really do have to take it a day at a time and see what kind of progress he makes-- see what happens after he goes through practice and things like that. As we said, and we'll continue to say, we'll put him out there and he'll play when the time is right. When that is, I'm not really sure of but I know he's making progress. That's the thing that matters most."
Zion also joked that if it was up to him, he'd have been back out there two weeks ago, but more seriously answered the question of when he expects to be back to game action:
"If I'm being honest with that, I couldn't tell you," Williamson said. "It'll probably be one of those moments where-- just like when it came to my college decision-- I woke up and I'll just know. I'm not trying to say something just to say something. That's my honest answer. I'll probably have to wake up one day and be like, alright Griff, Trajan, Coach, training staff, I'm ready. You got to let me go."
Williamson went-on to say that he has to pass the assessments and once he passes those, "Griff will let me go."
The rookie showed maturity beyond his years when asked about balancing the desire to get back out on the court and also being patient and understanding the bigger picture.
"It's been a hard balance because I am 19," Williamson said. "I do just want to get back out there but from a professional standpoint, I do have to look at longevity."
The Pelicans (11-23) hit the road for two West coast games this weekend (at the Lakers Friday and at the Kings Saturday) before returning home to host the Jazz on Monday.