NBA

Zion Williamson expected to make NBA bow on January 22 against Spurs

By Sports Desk January 15, 2020

Zion Williamson's highly anticipated NBA debut is set to come on January 22 when the New Orleans Pelicans face the San Antonio Spurs.

The teenager, one of the most hyped prospects ever to enter the league in recent years, has been sidelined since October after suffering a knee injury during preseason.

His last game came against the Spurs on October 13, when he put up 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Williamson has been involved in the Pelicans' recent pregame warm-ups and has taken part in three-on-three and four-on-four drills, with the franchise's executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin now outlining a likely return date.

"We hope to have a more intense practice on the 17th or 19th, if all goes well from that, and assuming that he is cleared by then, our anticipation is he'll play his first game on the 22nd at home against San Antonio," Griffin told reporters.

"This process has been one that's been really, really good. We've learned a lot more than we've probably taught him, quite frankly.

"He's getting to the point where we actually think he's as ready as he believes he is.

"Everything's moving in the right direction."

Williamson underwent surgery on October 21 and was initially given a six-to-eight week timeframe for his return.

Recent reports had suggested Williamson would feature against the Utah Jazz on Thursday.

However, the 19-year-old is set to miss that game and contests against the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies before he finally makes his bow.

"Anybody that was guessing before wasn't getting it from anybody who actually knew so that's really frustrating," Griffin added.

"The only people that really knew anything about the process were our medical team and the player."

Williamson was selected with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Pelicans, who had the right to pick him after winning the lottery.

The forward only spent one year in college with Duke and his last competitive appearance on the court came in their defeat to Michigan State during the NCAA's March Madness tournament.

The Pelicans have the second-worst record in the Western Conference with a 15-26 record.

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