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New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared for contact, nearing return

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared for contact, nearing return
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (C), shown April 16, 2021, has missed every game this season because of a right foot fracture. File Photo by Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson has been cleared to participate in contact drills as he nears a return to the court.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Pelicans said Williamson, who has missed every game this season due to a right foot fracture that he suffered in the summer, will begin 1-on-1 workouts and "progressively work toward full team workouts."

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The team also said Williamson will undergo additional medical imaging Nov. 24, which will determine whether the All-Star forward will be cleared for full team workouts.

Williamson underwent a recent round of imaging Nov. 11 and was medically cleared by Dr. Scott Montgomery, the Pelicans' team orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Richard Ferkel, who is based in Southern California and previously did procedures on Golden State Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

In Williamson's absence, the Pelicans have limped to a 2-13 start this season, including a loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Williamson, who is in his third season, has been limited to just 85 games in his NBA career after he played only 24 games during his rookie campaign because of a torn right meniscus.

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The 21-year-old Williamson appeared in 61 games last season and averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

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