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Zion’s availability for regular season opener in doubt

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket in front of Philadelphia...
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket in front of Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(Gerald Herbert | AP)
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The most important thing to the start of the Pelicans season is their health. Specifically, that of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The latter should be good to go. But Monday’s update on Zion from head coach Willie Green was less optimistic.

“Right now, he’s still doing his cardio work. He’s still doing his conditioning. He can do a little on the floor, and hopefully, we can progress soon after that,” said head coach Willie Green.

Asked to elaborate, coach Green explained that they’re still waiting on more information before putting Zion through more intense work to ramp up for the regular season.

“Ball handling stuff. He can shoot free throws. But we’re holding him back from running until we know further from his tests coming up,” said Green.

Hopefully those tests give the Pelicans some good news. But based on Zion’s injury history and the way they’ve eased him into playing, it’s probably not likely that he’ll be full-go for the first game in eight days. And even if he is, we should probably expect hard limit on his playing time.

Where does that leave us with this team’s regular season outlook? It’s still very unclear. We only saw Brandon Ingram in action for one game this pre-season. And outside of their win at home against Orlando, there’s been a lot of sloppy basketball. Their 17.8 turnovers per game during the pre-season would have been bad enough for last in the NBA a year ago. But, it is just the pre-season. So you have to take good with the bad. And coach Green sees the both.

“It doesn’t feel like it. The score doesn’t indicate it, but it was a step in the right direction for our young guys. We went out and we played hard. We tried to execute. We tried to create quality shots for each other. Just got to cut down on the turnovers. We’ve just got to keep working,” said Green.

As far as individual performances this pre-season, it’s hard not to love what we saw from Trey Murphy. He finished these four games shooting 47 percent for three and averaging 17.5 points per game. He should be an immediate contributor when the regular season starts next week.

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