According to a New Orleans Pelicans press release this morning, Zion Williamson has left the Orlando NBA campus to tend to an urgent family medical matter.
Zion Williamson update: pic.twitter.com/eShAPl1gB2— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 16, 2020
All of our thoughts and prayers are with Williamson and his family at this time. There is nothing more important than the health of loved ones so we at The Bird Writes are fully supportive of Zion taking as much time away as needed.
Per the press release though, Williamson does intend to rejoin the team at a later date. While that timeframe is obviously unclear, NBA league protocol mandating rules on the Orlando campus does offer some clues.
The NBA provides for both excused and unexcused absences in their extensive health and safety document, and one has to believe Zion’s case will fall under the former classification due to extenuating circumstances.
No one will be stopped from leaving the NBA campus. However, to minimize potential exposure to the virus, the expectation is that players and staff will not leave campus except in “extenuating circumstances.” Those include: the need to receive team-directed medical care off-campus, the birth of a child, a documented severe illness or death in the family, or a previously scheduled family wedding.
If a player is approved to leave, he will quarantine upon return to campus for four days if either of the following occurs:
He is gone fewer than seven days, and during each day off campus, he is tested for COVID-19, and the result(s) are negative.
He leaves for an extended absence and undergoes a daily COVID-19 test that comes back negative for at least the seven days before he arrives back on campus.
If Williamson fails to test adequately and/or produce negative results while away from the campus, Zion could be forced to quarantine for up to 14 days instead of just the four.
The New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to play in their first scrimmage next week on July 22, and the regular season seeding games kick off July 30 with a date against the Utah Jazz.