Zion Williamson injury update: Cleared for 1-on-1 drills, full contact

New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson has been cleared for 1-on-1 drills and full contact as he progresses toward a full return. 

If the Warriors are the best in the West, the Pelicans are arguably the worst, with only one win more than the 1-14 Houston Rockets.

Even though they dominate the league in wins, Golden State has been playing without one of its golden players, Klay Thompson. Similarly, the Pelicans have struggled to take flight without centerpiece player Zion Williamson, who has been sidelined all season with a broken foot injury sustained during a summer practice.

Finally, the Pelicans get the first glimmer of good news all season: Williamson has been cleared to participate in contact drills, beginning with 1-on-1 workouts.

Zion Williamson cleared for full contact as he resumes 1-on-1 workouts

Williamson will undergo additional medical imaging on Nov. 24, at which point it will be determined whether or not he can rejoin the team for full team workouts.

Despite three years in the NBA, Williamson has only played in 85 games, which is essentially equivalent to one full NBA season. Injury concerns loomed for the Duke Blue Devil even in college, as he gained national acclaim as the star of one of the nation’s best college basketball programs.

The coveted Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he only played 24 games his rookie year before a torn meniscus kept him out for the rest of the season.

As he recovers from foot injury, the Pelicans have been monitoring his weight and conditioning closely. A power forward of Zion’s height and weight runs a high risk of incurring injury on impact after slam dunks and leaps on the court. While Williamson’s power is what makes him, it also means the 21-year-old must be careful when coming down hard on the hardwood.

As of now, Williamson is right on track in recovering from his latest injury, although an actual return date remains unclear. Still, getting cleared for drills means Williamson is well on his way to making an impact and lifting the Pelicans out of the Western Conference gutter.

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