Pelicans holding out Zion for rest against Wizardson August 7, 2020 at 7:20 pm

New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson will not play Friday night against the Washington Wizards.

The Pelicans listed Williamson as out (rest) on its injury report Friday afternoon.

Williamson played just under 22 minutes in the Pelicans’ 140-125 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. He had 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting.

Williamson’s minutes have been a hot topic since the seeding games started. He left the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, for a family emergency July 16 and returned July 24, quarantining until July 28.

Two days later, he played 15 minutes in the Pelicans’ first seeding game against the Utah Jazz. After that, he played 14 minutes against the LA Clippers before ramping it up to 25 minutes in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

Williamson missed 43 games to start the regular season because of surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. When he debuted in January, the Pelicans were careful with his minutes and originally said they weren’t going to play him in back-to-back games.

But the Pelicans didn’t have any back-to-backs before the season went on hiatus in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Williamson never missed any games for rest during the regular season — although he did miss one because of a sprained ankle.

The rest day for Williamson comes at a crucial time for the Pelicans. New Orleans sits 2 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth spot in the Western Conference, and two games behind the Portland Trail Blazers for the ninth seed and the right to be in the play-in tournament.

However, Phoenix and San Antonio are both ahead of New Orleans in the standings, and the Pelicans are tied with the Kings.

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