Pelicans' Zion Williamson Leaves NBA Campus for Family Medical Emergency

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 16, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson walks onto the court during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans, Friday, March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has left the NBA campus in Orlando, Florida, to tend to a personal matter.

The Pelicans announced Williamson had to attend to "an urgent family medical matter" and will rejoin the team at a later date:

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

Zion Williamson update: https://t.co/eShAPl1gB2

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry later told reporters he does not know when Williamson will rejoin the team. 

"We’re not concerned with the basketball side, we’re concerned with his family," he said. 

Under the NBA's health and safety protocols established for the Orlando campus, players are permitted to leave because of an illness or family emergency without penalty if they receive preapproval from the NBA.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Among the variables that the league is expected to factor in to its decision when determining the length of Williamson's quarantine: Where specifically Zion went, his mode of travel and his frequency of COVID-19 testing while away from the team

Richaun Holmes of the Sacramento Kings and Bruno Caboclo of the Houston Rockets were put into quarantine earlier this week because they accidentally violated the league's protocols.

Per ESPN's Tim Bontemps, anyone who leaves the campus with approval from the NBA will quarantine for four days upon returning under either of the following conditions: They are gone fewer than seven days and test negative for COVID-19 each day they are gone, or they have an extended absence, undergo daily testing and test negative for at least the seven days before they return.

Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin didn't specify when Williamson would return to the team.

New Orleans (28-36) is 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Pelicans' first game in the season restart will be July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET against the Utah Jazz.