The NBA regular season arrives next week and New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson was expected to be a major part of opening night. That won’t be the case now, as Zion has suffered a knee injury during his NBA preseason campaign. It will keep him out of the regular season for quite a few games.
Here’s the latest Zion Williamson injury update including what happened and how long he may be out of action for.
Woj, Pelicans confirm Zion’s injury
On Thursday, the New Orleans Pelicans reported that Williamson was experiencing “right knee soreness.” That prevented him from traveling with the team to New York for a Friday preseason game.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that it wasn’t a severe Zion Williamson injury, but it’s enough for him to stay out for several weeks into the regular season. Woj also mentioned that although the injury isn’t severe, the Pelicans are treating it with “an abundance of caution.” Zion’s a major investment for not only the team but also the league.
Williamson, the No. 1 pick in this past summer’s NBA draft, played particularly well in several of his preseason games. That included last Friday versus Utah. Zion finished with 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go with five rebounds and an assist. Williamson had a double-double against the San Antonio Spurs on October 13 with 22 points and 10 boards.
Head coach Alvin Gentry believes that the game versus the Spurs was when Williamson was injured. However, Gentry also mentioned that Williamson practiced after that and he hadn’t noticed any issues. Basically, Gentry told the media he doesn’t have much more information on it right now.
He also scored 29 points in his team’s preseason win at Chicago. In just his first preseason game, he dazzled fans with dunks. A collection of his NBA preseason highlights surfaced on YouTube on Friday as news of Zion’s injury was making the rounds.
As mentioned, Williamson did not travel with his team for tonight’s game in New York. That matchup was slated for 8 p.m. Eastern Time on TNT against his former Duke teammate, rookie RJ Barrett, and the Knicks. Gentry said that JJ Redick would start in place of Zion but they’d shift some guys around as Redick won’t play the big man’s position.
When will Zion possibly return to action?
The early indication of “weeks” at least gives a bit of confidence that Zion Williamson will return to action sooner, rather than later. Whether that means two or three weeks, or over a month, remains to be seen. Most likely the team will continue evaluating the situation. However, it’s clear he won’t be playing in the team’s opening night game at the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday (October 22). That game was scheduled as part of an opening night doubleheader on TNT.
I think the Pelicans should be very very concerned about Zion's injury. pic.twitter.com/KZ2TUpu6kY
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 18, 2019
In terms of a timetable for return, it will depend on how many weeks Zion is out. The Pelicans play their second regular-season game on October 25 at home against Dallas and then play again on October 26 at Houston. So, it’s possible Williamson could be out into mid-November or even early December, but again, a team update will tell the story at a later time.
The Pelicans are scheduled for three games on TNT and two on ESPN up to November 27. That particular date is the anticipated first meeting between Zion Williamson and LeBron James on the NBA hardwood. That is currently in doubt until a further update arrives for Zion Williamson’s injury. The team is expected to conduct further evaluation and tests on Friday and possibly Saturday.