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Game thread: Zion Williamson out (rest) as New Orleans Pelicans battle Washington Wizards

It’s the 2nd night of a back-to-back, what’d you expect?

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans announced earlier in the day that the team will be without Zion Williamson for tonight’s contest against the Washington Wizards.

The Pelicans are playing on the second night of a back-to-back, so with Williamson still in the midst of ramping up his workload since returning to Orlando’s bubble, the news is far from a surprise.

The plan, as it was in his initial return from meniscus surgery, is to not push Zion too much, too quickly; however, it’s understandable that many are unhappy with this decision.

There is no question that New Orleans’ season hangs in the balance. Also, Zion is 20-years-old — either he is healthy to play or he isn’t.

However, as David Griffin has said on several occasions, the Pelicans are focused solely on the long-term here, even if it seems overly cautious. Regardless of how well Williamson performs on the court or the fact that it’s important he garner more minutes in meaningful games, the medical staff’s plan is taking precedence.

To be perfectly honest, I’m fine with today’s decision. In the future, ask me again, but for now, there is little reason to increase Zion’s injury risk, no matter how small the bump up in percentage.

The motto in traveling to Orlando for bubble play: Please, just no serious injuries!

Getting into the play-in tournament or the first round of the 2020 playoffs only to get waxed by the opponent isn’t nearly as important as this young core being ready to go from the jump next season.

And let’s be serious, if the Pelicans need Zion to beat an incredibly undermanned Wizards’ squad, then there are much bigger problems that deserve our attention.

For more on tonight’s matchup, please give Preston’s preview a read.

Geaux Pels!

Who: Washington Wizards vs New Orleans Pelicans

When: August 7, 7:00 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO, League Pass

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.