Was Zion Williamson’s Weight to Blame for His Unfortunate Injury?

After undergoing knee surgery in mid-October, Zion Williamson, one of the New Orleans Pelicans’ most anticipated rookies is out until at least December. While several NBA legends have suggested that Williamson’s weight is to blame, executives and coaches insist that’s not the case.

Zion Williamson’s injury

According to ESPN, Williamson tore his right knee’s meniscus during a game against the San Antonio Spurs on October 13. The injury resulted in arthroscopic surgery, which utilizes a tiny camera to observe potential joint problems. Small surgical instruments are then used to make repairs.

This surgery required Williamson to remain off the court for six to eight weeks.  

Williamson’s weight a subject of debate

The Pelicans list Williamson as 6-foot-6 and 284 pounds. This makes him the heaviest non-center in the NBA and the heaviest player at his height. Some folks think his weight is just too much to run across a basketball court. In a live poll conducted by USA Today, nearly 50% of polled fans agreed that Williamson is somewhat overweight. Former NBA players also chimed in.

On TNT, Charles Barkley said, “I don’t think he can play at that weight. I just don’t believe that.” Reggie Miller suggested that Williamson is at least 25 pounds overweight. “He’s going to have to lose weight if he wants to play that way, and if he wants to play 10-plus, 15-plus years.”

Earlier knee issues for Williamson

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This wasn’t the first time Williamson hurt himself on the court. It appears that he had injuries dating back to high school when he missed playing time due to knee, foot, and hand issues.

At Duke University, he sprained his knee and had to sit out the last month of the regular season. Williamson was only a freshman in college when he entered the NBA draft, where the Pelicans selected him with the No. 1 pick.

Even before the current season began, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski felt that Williamson may not be in the best playing and mental state for the NBA. This statement is actually what spurred the weight discussions. Krzyzewski went on to express that Williamson had been distracted by his fame and awards.  

Are the allegations totally off base?

The Pelicans’ Executive Vice President of Operations David Griffin called the allegations about Williamson’s weight being to blame, “asinine.” Speaking in defense of the young NBA player, he told USA Today, “That dude is a freak of nature. He’s in elite condition. He stays in elite condition.” Griffin insists the reason the injury and subsequent surgery were kept quiet is because they sought multiple medical opinions in an effort to be cautious.

Williamson is getting stronger day by day

According to the Pelicans, Williamson says his knee is getting stronger day by day. The 19-year-old admitted it really hurt him to miss out on the first road game against the Toronto Raptors, but with 82 games, it’s not like he’s missing even half the season.

After an early November practice at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in New Orleans, Williamson told the media the team supports him and wants him to keep rehabbing so that he can return as quickly as possible. “It’s a long season,” he said. “I don’t really see a need to rush back.”

His weight was not mentioned, nor does it seem to be a concern. The Pelicans won four games preseason where Williamson averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds, shooting 71.4% from the floor. They are currently 2-8.