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Pelicans reportedly expect Zion Williamson to return before season ends

New Orleans Pelicans v Toronto Raptors

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 23: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans sits on the bench during the second half of their NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on February 23, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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When the Pelicans announced this week Zion Williamson would be re-evaluated in two weeks — after having been out since Jan. 2 due to a strained hamstring — it was fair to ask if we would see him again this season.

The Pelicans expect to, reports Sam Amick at The Athletic. He wrote that the Pelicans expect Zion back in the lineup before the season ends, and that would mean he would be on the court in the playoffs if New Orleans makes it.

While the Pelicans announced on Wednesday that he would be re-examined in two weeks, a source with knowledge of the situation said the team is still expecting him to be ready before the end of the regular season. When it comes to injury recovery, there is perhaps no more unpredictable player in today’s NBA than Williamson. Nonetheless, significant hope remains that he’ll be healthy in time to be a late game-changer.

A healthy Zion would make the Pelicans a lower seed team to fear. In the games Zion has played — regardless of who else was in or out of the lineup — the Pelicans are 17-12 (a 48-win pace). When Zion has been on the court, the Pelicans have outscored opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions.

Brandon Ingram, who has battled injuries all season long (he missed a couple of months with a toe injury), is questionable for the Pelicans’ game Saturday against the Thunder due to a sprained ankle. The Pelicans need to find some wins the rest of the way regardless of who is in the lineup just to make the postseason.

At 32-34, the Pelicans currently sit as the No. 10 seed in the West, just half a game out of missing the play-in altogether, but