Sources: Zion Williamson to play Thursday in NBA bubble opener vs. Jazz

Yahoo Sports

Zion Williamson is playing on Thursday.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ star rookie was listed as a game-time decision, but sources told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he will suit up for the NBA’s bubble opener against the Utah Jazz.

Zion was quarantined after leaving bubble

Williamson left the bubble to tend to a family matter and returned last Friday, where he was immediately quarantined for four days, per bubble regulations. After a knee injury forced him to miss most of the season prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Williamson will start bubble play having missed a significant amount of practice time.

Williamson’s minutes were limited when he made his NBA debut in January, but his impact wasn’t. Williamson thrilled with a 22-point debut against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 22 and more than lived up to his sky-high expectations while averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 58.9 percent from the floor in 19 games.

After being listed as a game-time decision, Zion Williamson will play Thursday against the Jazz. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
After being listed as a game-time decision, Zion Williamson will play Thursday against the Jazz. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Zion doesn’t want a minutes restriction

Williamson said on Wednesday that he hoped to play against the Jazz without a minutes restriction. Haynes reports that Williamson will play in short bursts, but won’t necessarily be on a restriction. That sounds similar to the plan the Pelicans used to ease him into the lineup after his lengthy layoff with a knee injury.

The Pelicans enter bubble play at 28-36, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’re one of six teams in the bubble that will be fighting for the No. 8 seed.

The Pelicans, 1.5-point favorites against the Jazz at BetMGM, will need Williamson for as many minutes as he can give them.

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