Zion Williamson On Being A Gametime Decision For The Opener: ‘I Just Want To Hoop’

Now that Zion Williamson has cleared quarantine protocol after departing for a short while to tend to a personal matter, he’s a game-time decision for the Pelicans’ seeding game opener on Thursday against Utah. While Williamson understands that the team’s patience about his long-term health, he’s ready to play.

When asked by Rachel Nichols of ESPN about his status after a practice in the Bubble, Williamson said, “if you know me, I want to hoop.”

“Me and my team are going to look for what’s best for me, for my future, being safe,” Williamson said, before adding, “I’m never going to change, I’m going to want to hoop, it’s as simple as that.”

Williamson also acknowledged that “the NBA isn’t something you can just jump straight into,” but he still feels ready. There is no pain or discomfort, it’s just a matter of making absolutely sure he can handle NBA action by Thursday night — and also isn’t interested in a minutes restriction.

The Pelicans, of course, also played things slowly with Williamson’s recovery from a torn right meniscus. That process meant he only played 19 games before the NBA pressed pause in March, so his sense of urgency to get onto the court and finish off the playoff run that New Orleans has been eyeing up since the spring is understandable.