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Zion Williamson enters Pelicans practices with no minutes restrictions

New Orleans Pelicans v LA Clippers

Orlando, FL - AUGUST 1: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on against the LA Clippers on August 1, 2020 at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

After Zion Williamson tore his right meniscus and underwent surgery last season, the New Orleans Pelicans put him in bubble wrap. When he returned to the court, Zion had minutes restrictions, he didn’t play back-to-backs, and the Pelicans brought their potential franchise cornerstone along slowly, playing him fewer than 28 minutes a game.

This season, Williamson enters training camp with zero restrictions, coach Stan Van Gundy said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“Me and coach Van Gundy have talked and from what I know now, there are no restrictions. None,” Williamson said...

Van Gundy told reporters earlier on Sunday that Williamson has “no limitations in practice. That’s a good thing.” He added that Williamson easily passed his conditioning test, which included a three-minute run on the court.

Even with the restrictions last season, Zion averaged 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game. He was a force diving to the rim, and his gravity drew defenders and opened things up for Pelicans’ shooters.

Things will look different this season for New Orleans, with Van Gundy setting the tone and no Jrue Holiday. Still, with an unleashed Zion and the return of Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans are a playoff threat in the West if they can stay healthy.