Zion Williamson Isn’t Playing, but He’s Still Racking Up Impressive Honors

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Zion Williamson hasn't played for the Pelicans, but the forward is still being honored as an elite player.

While every NBA season has plenty of storylines, everyone came into the 2019-20 campaign waiting for one man: Zion Williamson. With New Year’s approaching, however, fans are still in limbo; the New Orleans star is still yet to take the court in a regular season game. While the Pelicans are rightfully being cautious, it’s still disappointing to see the team languishing with the first overall pick standing by in street clothes.

Zion Williamson might be inactive, but he’s still a dominant basketball player. In fact, he’s still racking out impressive honors despite not taking the court since the summer.

Zion Williamson’s injury history

Whenever he suits up, Zion Williamson is automatically one of the most dominant basketball players on the court. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the court for quite some time.

While most fans first saw Williamson in college, the big man suffered his first knee injury during high school, when a deep knee bruise forced him out of action for a few months. At Duke, another problem was on the cards; Zion infamously blew out his sneaker, suffering a Grade 1 right knee sprain in the process; he missed a chunk of the regular season, but returned in time to dominate the NCAA Tournament.

Williamson had another issue—this time a bruise to his left knee—which forced him to miss the majority of the Las Vegas Summer League; he returned to action in the NBA preseason but, then, the hammer dropped. Zion was ruled out of action with right knee soreness, and, a few days later, the Pelicans announced that their star forward had gone under the knife to repair a torn meniscus.

When will Zion Williamson return to action?

When Zion Willamson first underwent knee surgery, the Pelicans estimated that he’d return to action in six to eight weeks. That time frame, however, has come and gone.

Earlier in December, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry about his forward’s status. He explained that, while Zion was making progress, no one would be pushing him to get out the court by a specific date. “I don’t think it’s anything that can be rushed,” Gentry explained. “I think it’s a time thing. Six weeks is what we said, but obviously, he’s making progress. When the time comes for him to start on court and do things like that, he will. It’s not anything that’s going to be rushed or any shortcut. It’s a matter of taking the time to make sure he’s fine.”

While the team’s caution is perfectly understandable—the Pelicans aren’t going anywhere right now, so there’s no need to rush things—NBA fans everywhere are waiting for Zion’s return with bated breath. The forward, however, is still receiving praise in his absence.

A first-team, all-decade player

Last season, Zion Williamson only played 33 NCAA games. He was still dominant enough, however, to land on the first unit of NBC Sports’ College Basketball All-Decade team.

“I didn’t think I could justify [having] the best player that I have ever seen in the college ranks not on the list,” Rob Dauster wrote. “He finished the year averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 boards, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks. No one has done that since at least 1992-93, which is as far back as basketball reference’s database goes, and he was a freshman playing in the ACC. He holds the record for the highest PER in college basketball since 2009-10, which is as far back as that data goes.”

Hopefully, we get to see Zion racking up some NBA honors, too.