New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson will play Thursday

Pelicans star Zion Williamson in an NBA game against the Timberwolves
Mar 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) in action against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There was some question about Zion Williamson’s status heading into the first game of the NBA restart between his New Orleans Pelicans and the Utah Jazz on Thursday.

Williamson left the Orlando bubble for more than a week earlier this month to deal with a family emergency. He returned this past Friday and was just recently cleared from COVID-19 quarantine. There’s now good news on this front.

Zion Williamson will play Thursday against the Jazz

Williamson only got one five-on-five practice in since returning to Walt Disney World. While he wanted to play, the Pelicans were not as confident leading up to this news.

It’s a pretty big deal.

Zion Williamson’s stats are historically significant

Prior to the season being suspended back on March 11, Williamson was on pace to become the most-efficient rookie scorer in NBA history, besting all-time great Wilt Chamberlain.

Since returning from a knee injury that cost him the first few months of the season, Williamson is averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds on a resounding 59% shooting from the field.

Pelicans could still make NBA Playoffs

New Orleans currently sits at 28-36 on the season and as the 10th seed in the Western Conference. It is 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot. If the Pelicans are within four games of that final spot, they will take part in a play-in-tournament for a chance to appear in the playoffs.

With only eight regular-season games remaining, having Williamson on the court is going to be a big deal for the upstart Pelicans. It remains to be see if he will be on a minutes restriction. Don’t bank on it.

In addition to the Pelicans and Jazz game, the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers will take part in the opening day of the NBA restart Thursday.