Zion Williamson Rejoins Pelicans in NBA Bubble, Required to Quarantine

Blake SchusterAnalyst II

FILE - In this March 6, 2020, file photo, 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. The rookie sensation’s availability to play remained unclear as the season’s resumption in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, approached. He left the NBA’s so-called “bubble” setup on July 16 to attend to an unspecified family medical matter. A week later, the club had yet to provide an update on his possible return.  (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson returned to the NBA bubble outside of Orlando, Florida, on Friday following a family emergency for which he left the campus of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Pelicans announced Williamson had tested negative for the coronavirus daily since he left the team and would enter quarantine, per NBA protocol. On Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Williamson's quarantine would be four days, making him available for New Orleans' restart opener against the Utah Jazz on Thursday.

"My family and I appreciate the love and respect that everyone showed us while we dealt with a private family matter," Williamson said in a statement, per ESPN's Andrew Lopez. "I'm excited to rejoin my team in Orlando and look forward to getting back on the court with my teammates after quarantine."

Because the rookie had an excused absence, he is not subject to any penalties from the league.

New Orleans has two scrimmages remaining before resuming its season. The Pels will face the Denver Nuggets on Saturday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

The team is 3.5 games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with eight games to play. The Pelicans can earn a postseason bid by winning the eighth seed by four games. If they remain in ninth place and within four games of the eighth-place team, they would trigger a play-in series in which New Orleans would need to win two games before the eighth-place team wins one.