For the most part, the bubble situation in Orlando has gone well. There were a few minor hiccups at the start, with a couple of players breaking quarantine protocols for food delivery, but otherwise, the safety precautions put in place to protect the players and other league personnel seem to be working.
Several players, however, have been forced to leave the bubble recently to attend to personal matters. Clippers teammates Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell both left Orlando abruptly last week, and on Friday Lou Williams became the latest to make a sudden departure that was being described as an “excused absence.” All are expected to return.
Rookie sensation Zion Williamson left more than a week due to attend to an “urgent family medical emergency,” and as recently as Wednesday of this week, there was still no clear timetable for his return. However, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted on Friday night that Zion has returned to Orlando and is back on campus.
Pelicans’ Zion Williamson has returned to Orlando NBA Campus tonight.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2020
The Pelicans Twitter account later confirmed that, along with a statement from Zion thanking the fans for their support.
Statement from Zion:
“My family and I appreciate the love and respect that everyone showed us while we dealt with a private family matter. I‘m excited to rejoin my team in Orlando and look forward to getting back on the court with my teammates after quarantine.” https://t.co/LRrHfLnIgX
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 24, 2020
Zion was reportedly undergoing daily COVID testing during his absence, which would shorten the amount of quarantine time he would have to undergo once he returned to the bubble. The Pelicans are slated to scrimmage against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, but even with his daily testing, it’s unlikely Zion would be cleared to play by then. Regardless, it’s good news for Pelicans fans who, up to now, faced uncertainty about his return for the restart.