NEW ORLEANS — Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson left the NBA bubble in Orlando due to "an urgent family medical matter."
The team announce Williamson's departure Thursday morning, but said he would rejoin the team later.
“We fully support Zion’s decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time.”
In June, the NBA announced its season would officially resume in Orlando, which means the Pelicans will get a chance to pick up the regular season and see if they can make it to the playoffs.
The league released the eight-game schedule for the 22 teams invited to continue the NBA season at Disney World. Here’s a look at what’s coming up for the Pelicans:
- 7/30 -- Utah Jazz
- 8/2 -- LA Clippers
- 8/3 -- Memphis Grizzlies
- 8/6 -- Sacramento Kings
- 8/7 -- Washington Wizards
- 8/11 -- Sacramento Kings
- 8/13 -- Orlando Magic
The Pels currently sit at 10th in the West, three-and-a-half games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West. New Orleans has to be in at least 9th place and no more than 4 games behind the 8th seed to force a play-in tournament. They would then have to beat the 8th-seed twice to advance to the post season.
Games will start at the end of July. Fans will not be allowed at games, but commissioner Adam Silver says game broadcasts will have more cameras and feature enhanced audio of players and coaches.
Once players arrive in Orlando, they are tested daily for COVID-19. Silver said isolated cases will not shut down the NBA’s restart, but if there is a significant outbreak that could force them to stop play again.
In late June, three New Orleans Pelicans players have tested positive for COVID-19. The players names were not given but they were reportedly isolated and tested daily.
Players can return once they have two negative tests.