The New Orleans Pelicans announced that forward Zion Williamson left the NBA bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday morning because of an urgent family medical matter and that he intends to rejoin the team at a later date.
“We fully support Zion’s decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time.”
If his absence lasts seven days or fewer, Williamson will quarantine for four days upon his return to the NBA bubble if he has a negative test each day he’s outside the bubble.
If he is gone longer than a week, he will still quarantine for four days if he has a negative test for the final seven days he is gone. If he doesn’t have the required testing, he will quarantine for 10 days.
“Don’t know anything right now from the standpoint of him coming back,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “Obviously for us, we’re just very supportive of him and his family and his privacy during this time right now.”
Williamson has played in only 19 games in his rookie season for the Pelicans after coming back in January from meniscus surgery.
“As far as the impact on our team, we played 44 games without him,” Gentry said. “We had a tough stretch in there, but we also had a stretch where we won  out of 16 without him. Obviously he’s a great player that we’ll miss, but the one thing we always talked about — even through the tough times — is next man up. We’re a good team. We’re a deep team, that’s the one thing we are. We’ll have guys step in and play, and guys that will lift their game a little more.
“But right now, we’re not concerned about the basketball part for him, what we’re concerned about is family.”
How long until Zion returns to the bubble?
Malika Andrews details just how long we should expect Zion Williamson to be absent from the bubble after leaving due to an “urgent” family matter.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday echoed his coach.
“As much as it hurts to say, we’ve done it before,” Holiday said. “We’ve done it when he’s been out for a little bit this season. Obviously we’re excited to have him out there on the court. But with him gone taking care of his family, we’ll hold down the fort for him. He’s our brother, and he has to take care of his family.”
The Pelicans’ push for a playoff spot starts on July 30 when the team plays the Utah Jazz on the opening night of the league’s restart.
“We’re here to take care of business,” Holiday said. “We know that when Zion gets back, he’ll fall right back in line just like he did last time. Until then, we’ll have to steer the boat.”
Williamson practiced with the Pelicans in Orlando, Florida, last week and told reporters he had spent the time off during the NBA hiatus working out with his stepfather, Lee Anderson, when he wasn’t rehabbing with Pelicans staffers.