Pelicans' Williamson cleared to play without restrictions

·1 min read
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) watches a shoot around before game six of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, April 29, 2022 in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans announced that forward Zion Williamson has been cleared to play this offseason without any restrictions after recent imaging on the fifth metatarsal in his right foot showed continued improvement.

Barring any setbacks, that should pave the way for Williamson's return next season after missing all of 2021-22.

There was some hope the 6-foot-6, 284-pound Williamson might be able to return for New Orleans' first-round playoff series against Phoenix after progressing to playing 5 on 5 games with team staffers in April, but that never materialized.

The Pelicans made the playoffs but lost in six games to the Suns in the first round after winning two games in the play-in tournament.

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke in 2019, has been limited to 85 games in three seasons due to injuries. He only played 24 games as a rookie due to a torn meniscus in his right knee.

When he's played, he's been effective averaging 25.7 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for his career.

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