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Zion Williamson injury update: Why Pelicans star isn’t playing in Summer League & when he’ll play again

zion williamson sits on bench after summer league debut
The Pelicans shut down Zion Williamson for Summer League in Vegas, but when will he play again? Pic credit: ESPN

The latest Zion Williamson injury update arrives after recent comments from his former Duke Blue Devils coach, Mike Kryzewski. Basically, Coach K suggested that the New Orleans Pelicans should have never played him during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Here’s why Zion Williamson isn’t playing any more in Vegas after just one game and when he’s expected to return to action on a basketball court.

Pelicans take precaution with Zion Williamson

When you’re one of the top picks in the NBA Draft, the team that took the risk on you also knows better than to risk a season-ending injury in a Summer League. That’s the case with the New Orleans Pelicans, as their No. 1 draft pick banged up his knee in his one appearance during a hot debut in Vegas.

That game featured the rookie and the Pelicans as they took on the New York Knicks. NY’s squad featured Zion’s former Duke teammate RJ Barrett also on the court, making for a large crowd at the game.

The night would end early for Zion Williamson and the fans. Zion finished with 11 points and three rebounds in his debut, along with an ice bag on his knee.

Before the game could finish, an earthquake shook the building, causing the scoreboard and speakers hanging overhead to continue swaying. Ultimately, the powers that be decided to suspend the rest of the game.

The New Orleans Pelicans have played since then, but Zion Williamson is not playing. That’s due to an “abundance of caution” on behalf of the Pelicans’ front office. It’s a smart move based on the team not wanting to jeopardize their future of the franchise.

Following his July 5 Summer League debut, the Pelicans announced they were shutting Zion down for the rest of the Vegas league’s schedule. That was due to a “bruised left knee” which fans saw Williamson keeping an ice bag on after he left that game versus NY.

According to the Washington Post, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations released a statement saying Zion “will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team.” 

Coach K weighs in on his former player’s status

According to an exclusive Forbes report, Zion’s former Duke coach doesn’t believe the new NBA top pick should’ve ever been on the court for a Summer League game. Coach Mike Kryzewski was recruiting this past week in South Carolina when he gave his comments.

Coach K told Forbes, “No, I thought really he never should’ve played just because he’s been on this circuit of awards, the ESPYs, everything.” He added, “I don’t think he’s in the playing shape or the mental shape to play.”

Zion averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game for his college stats. He also shot 68 percent from the field in 33 games for Duke. His college performance was good enough to earn him a recent ESPY award for Best College Player.

When will Zion Williamson play again?

For the NBA, there’s the preseason and the regular season. It’s unknown right now if Zion Williamson will participate in any preseason games. However, one has to think barring any training camp or practice issues, he’ll be on the floor for the regular season.

The NBA preseason begins in September, while the regular season officially starts in October. It’s an 82-game grind for the New Orleans Pelicans who will have a talented new roster including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and JJ Redick along with the 19-year-old rookie phenomenon.

The NBA preseason schedule has yet to arrive, although it was reported a few days ago that the Atlanta Hawks will host the Pelicans in their first preseason game. In that report, they mentioned that four of the top 10 players from this past June’s NBA Draft will compete including Zion Williamson. That preseason game is set for October 7.

The full NBA regular season schedule will arrive next month. That will give fans their first look at which dates to circle for Zion’s first NBA games.

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