Zion Williamson returns to NBA bubble after exit for family matter

Zion Williamson is back at Disney World, but the New Orleans Pelicans will still need to wait a few days for him to rejoin the team.

The team announced Williamson had returned on Friday, noting that he had undergone daily coronavirus tests while away from Orlando and tested negative for all of them. Williamson will now go through the mandatory four-day quarantine for excused absences.

Williamson exited the bubble last week to tend to an urgent medical matter in his family, with the Pelicans’ blessing.

With the Pelicans set to begin their season again on July 30 against the Utah Jazz, Williamson had been running out of days in which he could have returned in time to be available for a game. It’s still unclear if he’ll be available for the opener as he will be just two days out of the bubble by the time of the game.

Williamson said he was thankful for the love and respect for his family upon returning, and said he was eager to rejoin his team.

While the Rookie of the Year race has already concluded, Williamson and the Pelicans will have plenty of work to do when play restarts. The team currently sits 3.5 games back from the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies for a playoff spot, and has plenty of Western Conference teams to outpace if it wants to land a spot in the play-in series for ninth-place teams.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson walks onto the court during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans, Friday, March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Will Zion Williamson be ready for the Pelicans' bubble-opener? (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

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