Zion expected to debut Jan. 22 vs. Spurs
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New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Zion Williamson is expected to make his long-awaited season debut at home on Jan. 22 against the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez.

Griffin added that the rookie phenom won't be on a minutes restriction when he returns to the lineup, according to The Athletic's Will Guillory. The 47-year-old executive did say in December that Williamson will "very likely" be held out of back-to-backs initially.

Williamson underwent surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus prior to the beginning of the season. He was initially given a recovery timetable of six-to-eight weeks.

The 19-year-old has endured knee problems dating back to his lone collegiate season at Duke. He missed six games for the Blue Devils after suffering a Grade 1 right knee sprain and was later limited to nine minutes of summer league play due to a bruised left knee.

But Griffin said neither he nor Williamson ever contemplated the rookie sitting out the entire season, and that the plan is to get the No. 1 overall pick into two more practices before his first NBA game, according to Lopez.

Williamson enjoyed a strong preseason before sustaining the injury, averaging 23.3 points on 71.4% shooting while adding 6.5 boards and 2.3 assists per contest.

Despite Williamson's extended absence, New Orleans is within four games of the Memphis Grizzlies for the Western Conference's eighth seed.

Zion expected to debut Jan. 22 vs. Spurs
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