The Pelicans initially put a six-to-eight-week timetable on Williamson’s return, and a source told ESPN that the No. 1 overall pick has returned to doing some on-court work, including light walkthroughs with the team and spot shooting.
On Monday, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said the team will be “overly cautious” with Williamson’s return.
In order for him to return to action, the team wants Williamson to reach certain metrics and benchmarks in his conditioning.
In the preseason, Williamson averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 71.4% from the floor.
He had 22 points and 10 rebounds in his final preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs. It was after that game that Williamson told the staff about discomfort in his knee. In the game prior to that against the Utah Jazz, he showed what he could do against one of the best interior forces in the NBA in Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Williamson was 3-of-4 against Gobert as the primary defender that game. His only miss was a floater over Gobert, after which Williamson managed to get the offensive rebound and dunk.
The Pelicans have been ravaged by injuries this season. Through 20 games, no player on the team had played in every game. Only four players — Jaxson Hayes, E’Twaun Moore, Nicolo Melli and Nickeil Alexander-Walker — have made it to this point in the season completely healthy, and all four of those players missed a game at some point.