New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has been cleared to participate in contact drills, the team announced, the latest step toward his eventual return to the court.
Williamson, who is in his third year, has missed every game this season because of a right foot fracture suffered in the summer. There was initial hope that he would be available for the start of the season but that hasn't happened.
The Pelicans also said that Williamson will undergo further medical imaging on Nov. 24, which will determine whether he will be available to be cleared for full team workouts.
Williamson will start with 1-on-1 workouts and progress from there. The team said he underwent the most recent round of imaging on Nov. 11 and was cleared by Dr. Richard Ferkel, who is based in Southern California and previously did surgeries on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Dr. Scott Montgomery, who serves as the Pelicans' team orthopedic surgeon.
Without Williamson in the lineup, the Pelicans have struggled to a 2-13 start, including a loss to Washington on Monday night.
Williamson has been limited to 85 games in his young NBA career after he played in his 24 games during his rookie season because of a torn right meniscus.