After months of waiting, today is finally the day we get to watch our New Orleans Pelicans play basketball. The Pelicans will begin their four-game preseason slate by hosting the Orlando Magic tonight at 8:00 PM EST (7:00 PM CST).
And there is even more good news that comes with that. For the first time in 281 days, Pelicans franchise cornerstone Zion Williamson will be in uniform. This marks the first time we’ve seen Williamson play since he strained his hamstring on January 2nd against the Philadelphia 76ers.
In fact, Williamson, CJ McCollum, and Brandon Ingram will all be out there starting together for the first time in eleven months. After spending last season being one of the most injured teams in the NBA, the Pelicans are hoping that lady luck will be on their side heading into this season.
With that said, they are still dealing with some injuries. Trey Murphy III, a player many have pegged as a potential breakout candidate this season, will miss the early portion of the year after having surgery to repair a slightly torn left meniscus.
Rotational pieces Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance Jr. have also dealt with some injury woes over the last few weeks. ESPN has them listed as hopeful for the season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 25th. But considering that their status for a game two weeks from now still isn’t certain, that probably means they won’t be playing in tonight’s game (although they haven’t officially been ruled out yet).
As for the Orlando Magic, they have no players on their injury report. So, we will operate under the assumption that all their guys will be available tonight. We will update this post if that changes between now and tipoff.
But if nothing changes on that front, that means Williamson, McCollum, and Ingram will get to rekindle their chemistry against the tantalizing young duo of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner. We hope they are up for the challenge and all the other obstacles that are sure to be in their path throughout the entirety of the 2023-24 season.