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    Still no timetable for Zion Williamson return from foot injury

    Mar 3, 2022
    Without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have managed to be in playoff contention.

    NEW ORLEANS — Zion Williamson's recovery from a right foot injury has improved to the point where he can gradually resume basketball activities, the New Orleans Pelicans said on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).

    However, there remains no timetable for when he might play in a game.

    The announcement came after physicians examined recent imaging of Williamson's foot and saw evidence of "improved bone healing."

    "We're all pleased with the results, that he's progressing. But it's still a long road ahead of him," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "He's aware of it, but he's taking necessary steps to continue to improve. We'll see how it goes."

    Williamson, who averaged a team-high 27 points and was an All-Star last season, was trying to return to practice in mid-December from an injury that occurred during the summer. But imaging of his foot at that time revealed a setback and the club said Williamson would stop practicing and focus on healing.

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    Williamson then received a "biologic injection" meant to improve bone healing. And with the Pelicans' permission, Williamson left New Orleans in early January to continue his recovery on his own in Oregon.

    Drafted first overall out of Duke in 2019, Williamson played in just 24 games as a rookie because of a preseason right knee injury (lateral meniscus). In his second season, he played in 61 of 72 games.

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    WIliamson hurt his foot last summer while performing basketball drills with his stepfather, with whom he has entrusted his offseason training.

    The Pelicans revealed the injury on the first day of training camp in September, saying they hoped he'd be ready to play by the regular-season opener on Oct. 20. Williamson initially agreed with that timeline, which has since proved overly optimistic by at least five months.

    Without Williamson, the Pelicans started 1-12 but have steadily climbed into contention for a Western Conference playoff berth. They also acquired high-scoring guard CJ McCollum from Portland two days before the NBA trade deadline with the aim of consolidating their recent gains in the standings.

    After losing four of five games after the trade, the Pelicans returned from the All-Star break with consecutive lopsided road victories against Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Entering Wednesday night's home game against Sacramento, the Pelicans (25-36) and Portland (25-36) were tied for the 10th and final play-in spot in the West with 21 regular season-games remaining.

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    Without Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have managed to be in playoff contention.
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