The Pelicans were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs to the Suns and played that series, as well as the entire regular season, without star forward Zion Williamson.
Williamson broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during summer workouts in advance of the NBA season, but has now been cleared to play according to a team release, paving the way for his return to the lineup next season.
The 2021-22 season was Williamson’s third as a pro, but he has only played in 85 NBA games since being selected with the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
When Williamson has played, he’s been productive. Over his 85 games, he has averaged 25.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on 60.4% shooting from the floor.
He is eligible for a five-year $186 million max rookie extension this summer, which Williamson has previously said that he “wouldn’t be able to sign fast enough.”
Williamson will be a major piece to add back into the fold with a core that now includes C.J. McCollum, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Portland.
With McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Williamson, the Pelicans have potential to take a major leap in the West next season.