“His explosiveness is there.” Zion Williamson is getting close

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

Zion Williamson is getting close to playing real basketball again for the New Orleans Pelicans and it can’t come soon enough.

Zion was cleared for full participation in practice and is hoping to make his return in early December though coach Willie Green said that will be determined by how he performs in practice.

Foot injuries can be tough, especially for a player who relies on his explosiveness, so even though Zion’s foot has healed, he will still have to overcome the mental challenge of going 100 percent on it.

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Coach Green is not worried about Zion’s foot, but recognized that being cleared for practice was just part of the process and it will still take time according to Christian Clark of NOLA.COM:

"“Z is a different dude. He’s still dynamic. His explosiveness is there. But once again, he has to get a flow and a rhythm of playing basketball of 5 on 5 again. That may take a little time.”"

The Pelicans won’t have a practice until later in the week, so we’ll have to wait to see how Zion responds.

While it will be great to have Zion Williamson back, will it matter for the Pelicans’ season?

Can Zion Williamson save the New Orleans Pelicans’ season?

Losing your top scorer and focal point of your offense is not easy to overcome, a fact the New Orleans Pelicans know all too well.

They have started 5-17 without Zion Williamson and have looked bad offensively at times, though there have been some bright spots in newcomers Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte’ Graham.

Herb Jones has been great defensively and looks like one of the steals of the draft, a guy who could end up being the Pelicans’ Draymond Green.

Brandon Ingram has missed time but he’ll be fine and Josh Hart is having the best season of his career so far.

In other words, some of the pieces are there for the Pelicans to compete when they are at full strength, so from a talent perspective, the Pels should be able to win some games when Zion Williamson returns.

The good news is that the New Orleans Pelicans are still within shouting distance of the play-in, so a solid couple of weeks with Zion could get them right back in the mix. The bad news is that all 10 teams currently in the playoff picture are pretty good and there is not a clear candidate to fall out.

The Nuggets have lost 6-in-a-row and are currently in the 10th spot, but I wouldn’t expect them to stay there. The Grizzlies could struggle if Ja Morant has to miss a lot of time, but hopefully his knee injury isn’t as serious as it first looked.

The Timberwolves should give the Pelicans hope, as they were out of the playoff picture but have put together a solid 10-game stretch and are now the 7th seed in the Western Conference.

This season is far from over, so if Zion gets back soon, the Pelicans have time to salvage their season and try to make a run at the play-in tournament.

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