Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin defended the staff's decision to limit Williamson's time on the court, and the club will likely stick to its performance team's plan for at least the next two games.
"No mistakes were made yesterday relative to how this was handled, other than by me by not coming forward and just expressing this in the clearest way possible," Griffin said Friday. "This isn't complicated. Again, he will not play significant minutes in the next game, and he may not in the following game quite frankly. This is all about the ramp up time.
"He didn't get the benefit of any of the things that his teammates got for those 13 days. So again, this is gonna take some time, and I think it's gonna take time for him - he mentioned his flow and rhythm - it's gonna take time for him to find that."
Williamson returned to the bubble last Friday after leaving the week prior to attend an "emergency family medical matter." He served a four-day quarantine period and participated in a pair of practices before Thursday's opening game.
The No. 1 overall pick didn't show much rust as he scored 13 points in his limited minutes. However, Williamson was on the bench for the game's final 7:19.
The rookie forward was "pissed" he was held out for the remainder of the contest, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.
New Orleans' record dropped to 28-37 with the loss to Utah, and it now trails the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies by four games.