Duke basketball: Zion Williamson returns to court after 517 days away

Former Duke basketball standout Zion Williamson (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Former Duke basketball standout Zion Williamson (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball sensation Zion Williamson finally returned to the court. 

It was 517 days since Duke basketball icon Zion Williamson last stepped on an NBA court but that streak came to an end on Tuesday night.

Williamson, and his new look body, was in the starting lineup for the New Orleans Pelicans as they began its preseason slate in Chicago against the Bulls.

The former Blue Devil looked like his old self logging 15 minutes in the contest and finishing with 13 points, four rebounds, one assist, and a steal on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Zion Williamson has received much criticism over his weight since entering the NBA, but at Pelicans media day last week he discussed how he’s been able to transform his body since recovering from foot surgery last year and has never felt better about himself.

The 6-foot-6 forward looks lean, fit, and ripped entering his fourth professional season.

Williamson is averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game in his NBA career but has only played in 85 total games due to various injuries.

Former Duke forward Brandon Ingram did not play in the 129-125 Pelicans victory.

Duke basketball star hoping to bring Pelicans back to prominence

New Orleans, after a horrid start to the season, rallied to qualify for the Play-In Tournament and picked up two victories to make the postseason while pushing the No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns to six games.

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Many are expecting the Pelicans to continue its strong play at the end of last season into this season with a healthy Zion Williamson and could challenge for a Top-5 seed in the Western Conference.

It remains to be seen how many preseason games the organization will have Williamson play in but the team is slated to be back on the court on Friday, October 7 against the Detroit Pistons as the regular season begins on Wednesday, October 19 against the Brooklyn Nets.

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