Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Zion Williamson -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft -- returned to practice for the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday for the first time since he had surgery on his right knee in October.
Williamson, 19, got in a full session, but the practice was light. He said if it was up to him, he would have been on the court two weeks ago.
"It was a good experience," Williamson said. "I'm glad I was able to get back out there."
Sources told the Athletic that Williamson and the Pelicans are "hopeful" for a January season debut. The former Duke Blue Devils star had surgery Oct. 21 and was initially expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Williamson turned heads in the NBA preseason, averaging 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, before tearing the meniscus in his right knee.
"He went through an actual practice. That's about it," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "He is still standing and shooting free throws. Everything is fine."
Gentry said no date is set for Williamson's return. The Pelicans coach said the team is taking Williamson's progress one day at a time.
Williamson will not play with the Pelicans during their road trip this weekend. The Pelicans face the Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. EST Friday in Los Angeles. New Orleans faces the Sacramento Kings on Saturday in the final game of the road trip.
The former Duke star averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his lone season at Duke. The Pelicans are 11-23 this season and sit in 14th place in the 15-team Western Conference.