Over the last couple of months, New Orleans Pelicans rookie big man Zion Williamson has been on the mend from a surgically-repaired knee. Things have moved nearly past the expected 6-to-8 week timetable for his original anticipated return. It has brought into question concerning when he will return to the court this season, which former NBA star Paul Pierce has weighed on the discussion with a nonsensical plan for how the Pelicans should handle the health of their promising forward.
Zion Williamson’s recovery
The Pelicans were dealt a disappointing blow right before the start of the season with Williamson suffering a knee injury that shortly after that revealed to be a torn right lateral meniscus that needed to surgically repaired.
It has sidelined Williamson the last two months, forcing him to miss the first quarter of the regular season. The initial hope was that he was going to make a return to the court in mid-to-late December. But, there hasn’t been nearly as much progress as hoped.
The Pelicans have yet to place an official return date for the 19-year-old as he continues his recovery. That has opened the door for many outside opinions regarding the situation, which includes a former Celtics star forward.
Paul Pierce’s foolish take on Zion Wiliamson’s recovery
With the Pelicans continuing to shy away from putting a return date on their prized rookie, it has left the door open to his status for the season.
It’s a situation that Piece voiced during a recent appearance on ESPN’s The Jump believes should lead New Orleans to sit him for the entire year.
“In the era of load management, this new-age NBA, if I’m the Pelicans I sit him the rest of the year. They have nothing to gain by getting him out there playing. They are not making the making the playoffs. You don’t want to risk further injuries.”
Pierce’s take lies in the belief that the Pelicans are not playing for a playoff berth while there is a risk for another injury. However, Williamson looks to be progressing along while carefully monitoring his workload in the recovery. Yes, the team is hoping that he is the face of the franchise, but there is no reason at this point to shelf him his entire first year in the league.
If he proves to be healthy enough to play, it’s an opportunity for him to gather some valuable experience in his first year that he can build on heading into his second campaign. It’s also an opportunity for him to get his body acclimated to playing at the next level. In essence, Williamson has plenty to gain in what’s already turned into another lost season.
Pelicans taking precautionary approach with Zion Williamson
Throughout the entire process, the Pelicans haven’t rushed the recovery in any manner by allowing Williamson to recover at his own pace.
Meanwhile, he has taken a significant step forward with being able to do things at a “fully weight-bearing” level. General manager David Griffin did voice that if there was going to be a setback, it would have occurred now, but he has continued to move forward.
The next step is to get his body used to being on the court once again doing basketball activities while working his cardio back up to where it needs to be for an NBA game. Williamson could be on pace to make his return at some point early in 2020, which may see the team caution towards the All-Star break.
Nonetheless, there is no reason for the discussion to be around him missing his entire first year in the league.