NBA: Zion Williamson clears quarantine, slated to practice

The New Orleans Pelicans star was slated to practice with the team on Tuesday night.

Zion Williamson reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 four times since returning to the NBA “bubble” environment.   -  AP

New Orleans Pelicans rookie star Zion Williamson cleared quarantine and was slated to practice with the team on Tuesday night, ESPN reported.

Williamson left the Pelicans on 16 July to attend to a family situation and returned to the Orlando area last Friday night. Williamson reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 four times since returning to the NBA “bubble” environment.

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New Orleans hasn’t yet indicated whether Williamson would be on the floor on Thursday night when the club restarts the season against Utah Jazz.

Williamson, who turned 20 on 6 July, averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games prior to the shutdown. The forward missed the first three months of the season with a knee injury.

The Pelicans (28-36) are one of three teams who stand 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, which currently holds the final Western Conference play-off spot.

Thunder C Noel out after missing COVID-19 test

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel sat out Tuesday's scrimmage against the Portland Trail Blazers because he missed a scheduled COVID-19 test, coach Billy Donovan told reporters.

NBA guidelines call for a one-day quarantine if a player misses a test.

Noel is the third known NBA player to miss a scrimmage after forgetting about a COVID-19 test. Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap and Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis are the others.

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Donovan said Noel felt bad about forgetting about the test.

“Nerlens was extremely remorseful,” Donovan said. “If I'm being totally honest, there's times I've been in my room and been like, 'Oh my God, I forgot to take my test' and I'd have to run down there and test. These days kind of run together.

“Sometimes it can slip your mind if your test isn't right around practice, it could be a little later in the day, you could forget. Everybody here has had to be personally reminded. ... We've talked about we've all got to be responsible to make sure we're getting that done.”

Noel is expected to be available when the Thunder restart the season against the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

Noel, who is in his sixth NBA season, is averaging 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 55 games (six starts) this season.

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