The NBA returned on Thursday night in the Disney bubble, and with it came the return of Zion Williamson. Zion was a game-time decision and scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in a medical team-mandated 15 minutes during a Pelicans' loss to the Utah Jazz.
Zion's minutes restriction was just that according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. Zion is healthy, but he hasn't played much and missed two weeks of practice. Simply put, the Pelicans are focused on protecting their long-term investment, rather than making a run at that final spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
Can you blame them? They only stand an outside chance at getting into a play-in game. Just by showing up, they get some financial relief in a disastrous economy. Zion got into the bubble twice, safely. Now their only priority is to get him back out in one piece, and focus on selling tickets for whenever fans return to the stands next year.
Yeah, it's a little disappointing that we don't get to see Zion go crazy or try to win a game late. Just like it was when he made his initial NBA debut in January. But hopefully this disappointment leads to much more excitement down the road. It's something we're all faced with right now so let's just do everything as safely and boringly as we have to to ensure we get to enjoy nice things again someday.