Zion Williamson to progress to 5-on-5 practice, source says

Zion throws down a few dunks during warm-ups (0:27)

Zion Williamson warms up before the Pelicans' game and throws down a few impressive dunks. (0:27)

NEW ORLEANS -- Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is expected to return to 5-on-5 action at practice Tuesday, a source told ESPN, in another step toward his highly anticipated regular-season NBA debut.

On Friday, ESPN reported that Williamson needed about three or four more practices before the Pelicans would clear him to take the preseason assessment test that would allow him to return to game action.

The Pelicans have had difficulty scheduling those practices. Monday was the team's first of five games in eight days, which doesn't allow for a lot of practice time.

But if the pregame workout Monday afternoon was any indication, Williamson is starting to look like the old Zion.

Before the Pelicans' 128-126 loss to the Utah Jazz, Williamson took the court for his normal workout routine, and he took the time to throw down a couple of thunderous, one-handed slams. After that, he threw down an alley-oop from a Pelicans staffer and finished the workout with a standing, between-the-legs slam.

Williamson averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 71.4% from the field in four preseason games. He missed the last game with knee soreness and had surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 21, the day before the regular season began.