New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson reportedly has a torn meniscus in his knee which will require surgery to repair.
Due to the injury, the most-anticipated rookie since LeBron James may not make a debut until two months into the NBA season. The Zion Williamson knee surgery news and torn meniscus recovery time already have some fans comparing him to another top pick.
Zion Williamson update includes surgery timetable
Last Friday, it was learned that the top draft pick would not travel with the Pelicans to New York for their preseason game against the Knicks. That was due to knee soreness he was experiencing.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry indicated that he believed Zion suffered the knee injury during the team’s preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs.
At first, it was just reported that Zion Williamson’s injury would keep him out for “weeks,” with no real timetable given. However, a new update arrived on Monday (Oct. 21) via the New Orleans Pelicans saying that Williamson had knee surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus.
The arthroscopic surgery said to be successful under Dr. Jason Folk.
Zion Williamson just had SURGERY 💔 (Woj is breaking my heart) pic.twitter.com/toXsSzfbn7
— Overtime (@overtime) October 21, 2019
Zion’s expected return, or debut rather, is anywhere from six to eight weeks. That could mean up to two months before the top NBA rookie steps foot on the court.
The NBA season officially begins Tuesday night with Zion’s New Orleans Pelicans part of a doubleheader. They play the reigning NBA Champion Toronto Raptors at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on TNT.
However, the main draw for the matchup was supposed to be the talented new rookie making his debut.
Williamson’s injury draws comparisons to draft bust
There have been several other top picks who have experienced setbacks before they could really get started in their NBA careers.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons was out a full season before he could play. His teammate Joel Embiid needed two seasons before he was officially able to play as a rookie.
Let’s not forget Markel Fultz, yet another Sixers’ No. 1 draft pick who suffered injury woes.
Zion Williamson will be the 4th No. 1 overall pick to miss the season opener of his first season in the last 25 seasons (@EliasSports)
Over the last 10 years, only 3 No. 1 picks have missed 20+ games in their first season (Fultz, Simmons & A. Bennett) pic.twitter.com/eRL2yT5Cdc
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2019
Blake Griffin was another top pick who suffered an injury ahead of his rookie season. He hurt his knee in his final preseason game. Ultimately, he needed surgery and missed his anticipated first year.
Those aforementioned players have been alright since then, as they’ve gone on to make the All-Star team and achieve productive careers at a star level. However, fans may be quickly looking to another former No. 1 draft pick, Greg Oden.
Oden was highly-praised as the next great big man coming out of Ohio State. The 7-footer was the No. 1 pick in 2007 for the Portland Trail Blazers. Oden needed microfracture surgery on his right knee and missed the entire 2007 season.
Two years later, he suffered an injury to the other knee. He’d undergo surgery on that knee in 2010 and then arthroscopic surgery on the right knee in 2012.
While he had another opportunity as a member of the Miami Heat, Greg Oden never quite realized the superstar NBA career he’d been projected to have out of college.
Right now, it’s too early to put that sort of similar comparison to Zion Williamson, though, as time will tell how the rookie bounces back after his knee surgery.