Zion Williamson is unlikely to play on back-to-back nights when he returns from injury and finally makes his NBA regular-season debut, New Orleans Pelicans general manager David Griffin has said.
The much-hyped number one overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft is yet to take to the court in the regular season, having undergone surgery on his knee the day before the Pelicans' campaign started.
Williamson, who averaged over 23 points in preseason, was expected to be back within six to eight weeks, so his return is imminent.
However, the struggling 6-16 Pelicans will refrain from using Williamson on back-to-back nights initially.
"He very likely will not be asked to take the pounding of back-to-backs initially," Griffin told Fox Sports.
"There will be a sort of ramp-up for him to getting back to where you would call him full strength, but he's certainly going to be playing, and we're trying to win basketball games, and quite frankly, we've done a horrible job of that."
The six-week point of Williamson's surgery passed earlier this week and Griffin insists he is still on course to be back within the initial timeframe laid out.
"He continues to progress," Griffin added.
"He's progressing very well. He feels very good about his process. And eight weeks is several days from now, and if we get outside of that, it will be because he hasn't met the metrics for return-to-play that are laid out for him and every player on our team.
"He will not be treated any differently in terms of the return-to-play metrics.
"Nothing's changed, the timeline has not changed.
"If he hits those metrics in seven weeks fine; if he hits them in 10 weeks, fine. We don't care when that is, but he's not getting on the court until he proves to us he's healthy, no matter what he wants to do."