The stepfather of New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson, Lee Anderson, says he “expects him to play” before the season ends.
As the NBA season draws to a close, the talk about Zion’s return has grown less pertinent than it had been at the start. In the Western Conference before, the Pels and Houston Rockets were both tied for last place. The Pels now have a one-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs for the ninth spot, which means that they can still play in the playoffs.
They did it without ever seeing Zion play, but there is still hope for Williamson to return to the hardwood if the Pelicans extend their season, according to some in Zion’s camp. Lee Anderson, Zion’s stepfather, said on The Jordy Culotta Show that he “expects” Zion will play this season.
“Do I think he’ll play?” That is a difficult question to answer. I fully anticipate him participating. Yes, I certainly do. And if you asked Zion, I’m sure he’d say the same thing now that there are only a few games remaining.
But, given the significance of what’s going on in New Orleans, the chance to qualify for the play-in game and perhaps enter a seven-game series would be off the charts. “
Anderson repeated that he is not a medical specialist and is not making a medical assessment, but he and Williamson both believe that a return in early 2022 is still possible.
Lee Anderson, Zion Williamson’s stepfather, “expects” the Pelicans to return this season
The Pelicans said on March 5 that Zion Williamson had returned from rehab in Portland, Oregon, and that he had been cleared to play basketball again. This was good news for Pels fans who had been waiting for Zion’s return.
Pelicans’ Zion Williamson is returning to New Orleans after spending time in Portland for his foot rehab, sources tell me and @WillGuillory. Williamson is cleared to progress in basketball activities. Pelicans have won four straight games and are in playoff race.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 5, 2022
A few weeks later, on March 21, Charania delivered less upbeat news: Zion had been ruled out “indefinitely” while on his first multi-game road trip of the season.
Pelicans’ Zion Williamson traveled with the team to Portland on four-game road trip, sources tell me and @WillGuillory. It’s the first multi-game road trip Williamson has traveled on this season. Steps in right direction as he continues to progress but remains out indefinitely.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 29, 2022
Anderson’s hopes may not be as dependent on a return to the regular season as they are on winning the play-in event. The final days of the NBA season in 2021-22 are April 9–10, with the play-in tournament taking place April 12–15.
The Pelicans need to keep their playoff run going as long as possible if dunks are a good sign that Zion is getting better.