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Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson’s spirits are good because ‘he’s not dead’

Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans are going to be without the services of Zion Williamson for the first few games of the 2019-20 regular season, as the No. 1 overall pick will be held out to recover from a knee injury. Despite this fact, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry says the star forward is in good spirits.

“It’s not like he’s dead,” Gentry told Marc Berman of the New York Post during Friday’s shootaround.

Zion’s knee injury doesn’t seem to be severe, but the Pelicans will certainly be cautious in their approach to his return. He did not travel with the team to New York for Friday’s preseason game against the Knicks. Instead, he underwent medical testing.

Gentry tells ESPN’s Malika Andrews that Williamson’s injury seems to have occurred in the Pelicans’ preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs on October 13. It’s the same knee that was injured when he blew out his shoe in college.

Williamson is expected to miss “a period of weeks to start the regular season,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He’ll undergo further medical evaluations in the coming days.

Williamson played well in the preseason. Through New Orleans’ first four exhibitions games, the former Duke standout turned in averages of 23.3 points on 71.4 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per contest.

New Orleans will be back in preseason action on Friday night, as they’re scheduled for a matchup against the New York Knicks. Tip-off inside Madison Square Garden is set for 8:00 p.m. ET, with TNT having live broadcast coverage.