Over the last several days, there has been some significant concern over the health of New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson. It has only grown another notch after the Pelicans announced on Monday afternoon that Williamson will be out of the mix for the next six-to-eight weeks to begin the season. All of this should lead New Orleans to take another approach with the situation.
Zion Williamson’s promising play in the preseason
Coming off limited action in the Summer League, Williamson made his presence felt in a major way in his first NBA preseason that quickly drew comparisons to the likes of LeBron James.
The 19-year-old was a highly impactful player on the floor in his limited action as he averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor in just 27.3 minutes per game in four appearances.
Williamson displayed plenty of poise on the floor behind his performance behind his aggressive playing style that allowed him to be a huge factor in the paint. He also showed the ability to create his own shot off the dribble that could come into play with opposing teams packing the paint against him.
However, his start to his rookie campaign has hit a bit of a speed bump as he’s expected to miss the next several weeks due to knee surgery.
Zion Williamson expected to miss 6-to-8 Weeks
Last week, the Pelicans announced that Williamson would be out of the mix for a few weeks due to a knee injury that occurred during the preseason.
It has now progressed to a serious matter as the team announced that the Duke product would be out of the lineup for possibly the next two months due to undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
The team announced on Monday afternoon that Williamson had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus. The Pelicans expect Williamson will miss six to eight weeks.
The Pelicans had voiced initially little concern about the situation, with head coach Alvin Gentry stating last week that Williamson would be fine. There may have been some internal discussion about the matter, but likely uncertainty about whether the injury would require surgery.
Nonetheless, it puts New Orleans a tight spot early on without their promising big man to begin the 2019-20 campaign.
Pelicans must move cautiously with Zion Williamson
It isn’t the start of the NBA career that the Pelicans had hoped for Williamson, but it does further emphasize the need to take a cautionary approach with his health.
He is the prized possession of the franchise that they hope they can build around for the next decade-plus. Williamson has quickly suffered knee injury that immediately puts question marks around his durability. There are a few other notable rookies that have dealt with significant injuries in their first year with the likes of Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, and Greg Oden, who all missed their entire first year.
That is certainly something that the team will need to be mindful of when handling Williamson’s recovery. He has already shown plenty of promising, which makes keeping him healthy an absolute must moving forward.
With him off the floor, the Pelicans will lean on the rest of their young core to lead the way, with Brandon Ingram taking the starting spot with Williamson out. Meanwhile, it could lead to increased offensive roles for JJ Redick, Lonzo Ball, and Jrue Holiday to begin the year.
Only time will tell if the Pelicans handle this entire manner appropriately.