LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have scratched rookie Zion Williamson from the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards.
The team designated Friday a rest day for the NBA’s top overall draft choice after he scored 24 points in 22 minutes in the Pelicans’ 140-125 loss to Sacramento on Thursday.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry noted that Williamson has not played games on consecutive days at all during his entire rookie season, “and that’s the same thing here.”
“We just thought it would be best right now to do it this way, and we’ll evaluate tomorrow and see what’s going on,” Gentry added.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson has seen his playing time limited after missing nearly two weeks of practice in July to attend to a family medical matter.
The former Duke star has played as few as 14 minutes and not more than 25 minutes in a game since the Pelicans resumed their season July 30.
Williamson has averaged nearly 17 points and about 19 minutes in the Pelicans’ four games in the Disney complex. He has averaged 22.4 points in 23 total games this season after missing the first 44 games of his rookie campaign while recovering from right knee surgery.
The Pelicans’ playoff hopes have faded with three losses in their past four games. They might need to win all of their final four regular-season games to have a chance to qualify.
Gentry said he planned to start veteran JJ Redick in a three-guard lineup alongside the usual starting back-court of Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, with Derrick Favors at center and Brandon Ingram at forward.
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