Pelicans central to NBA’s planning for return to action

First-round draft pick Zion Williamson prepares for training camp with the New Orleans Pelicans.
First-round draft pick Zion Williamson prepares for training camp with the New Orleans Pelicans.(Chris Hagan)
Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 7:24 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - When the NBA paused their season due to Coronavirus concerns, the New Orleans Pelicans were in the thick of the most-contested battle for playoff seeding as one of four teams chasing the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference. As the league and the sports world starts to peer at what a return to action might look like, the Pelicans are playing a central role in that conversation.

The team’s Vice President of Player Care and Performance, Aaron Nelson, is widely respected and is the head of the NBA Trainers Association and is at the forefront of the NBA’s thought-process as to how to get players ready to return to action “There’s a sports science committee I believe that the league has engaged in conversations around this very thing,” Pelicans Executive V.P. of Basketball Operations told reporters via teleconference. “I think there would be a pretty unanimous sentiment that the longer we’re out, the longer we’re going to need.”

"I would hope that we would be able to model something like an off-season which the [training facilities] are open for an informal period of time, let’s call that two weeks, and then two weeks of a training camp that would lead into game play. Again, that would be a totally different set of numbers, but having an equal amount of informal time where guys can come in and start working on their own and starting to engage in more explosive activities, that’s certainly something that would be helpful for everyone, and I know that’s been talked about from a sports science standpoint.”

Nelson and his training staff have been in daily contact with players to keep them in shape but that’s not the only service the Pelicans are offering their team "Jenna Rosen, who’s in charge of mental health and wellness for us, she’s been doing twice-a-day calm sessions where she’s doing a Zoom of different mental exercises and stress relieving exercises."

"We’re trying to be as creative as we can to have constant contact with people and make them understand that we’re still part of the same family, and family matters vitally to this group. I think our players are very close individually. I think organizationally, I think if you talk to most of the people in it, they would tell you that ‘family’ is a big focus of what we’ve brought to this, so we’re trying as best we can to connect with as many people on as many different levels as possible.”

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