Zion Williamson to play in NBA restart opener vs. Jazz

New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson will play tonight in the NBA's restart opener, according to a report from ESPN's Malika Andrews.

Zion Williamson will play in short bursts tonight against the Jazz, sources tell ESPN.

— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 30, 2020

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said Williamson's status would be "a game-time decision" for the team's opener against the Utah Jazz Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on TNT, but after going through warmups New Orleans opted to play the former Duke star. Gentry told reporters prior to the game that Williamson would start if he played.

Williamson participated in practice this week for the first time since leaving the NBA's bubble in Orlando to tend to an urgent family matter.

He told reporters Wednesday that he didn't do much basketball work while he was away from the team and was limited in what he could do when he returned to the team as he was forced to quarantine per NBA protocol. Because of those limitations, Williamson recognized he's not in "game shape" but was eager to play.