The New Orleans Pelicans are heading into the same all-too-familiar circle and dance with star big man Zion Williamson‘s health. The All-Star is working his way back from a fractured foot that has created doubt concerning his status for the season opener. The latest update regarding Williamson should only strike fear in the Pelicans.
Zion Williamson suffers broken foot over the offseason
Williamson took a significant step forward last season, putting together a highly productive campaign that earned him his first All-Star game selection and finished eighth in scoring with 27.0 points.
However, the 21-year-old suffered a setback over the offseason after vice president of basketball operations David Griffin revealed last month that he underwent surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot.
“He had a fractured right foot that was repaired surgically,” Griffin said via ESPN. “His timeline should get him back on the court in time for the regular season. That would be our hope and our view. And we’re very optimistic about what that looks like.”
New Orleans may have kept the news from the public, but the team firmly believes the star big man will be ready to go for the season opener. It marks the second surgery that he underwent in his brief NBA career. He missed the first few months of his rookie campaign due to an operation to fix a torn meniscus.
Williamson hasn’t shaken the health concerns as another troubling detail has emerged ahead of next season.
Zion Williamson’s latest health update should strike fear in the Pelicans
Since the Pelicans dropped the bombshell regarding Williamson‘s foot surgery, the focus remains on his status for opening night on Oct. 20 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Griffin initially voiced the team is working in lockstep with the star big man. However, Williamson remains a limited participant in practice, with the first game sitting a little more than a week away.
Before the preseason finale on Monday, first-year head coach Wilie Green voiced that Williamson will undergo additional medical examinations of his foot over the next day. The 21-year-old can only work in ball-handling drills and shoot free throws until he receives medical clearance to participate fully in practice.
“We’re holding him back on running until we know further from his test coming up,” Green said via Christina Clark of NOLA.com.
Although Williamson remains active, his limited practice status should draw concerns as it clouds his status for opening night and possibly beyond that. The lack of cardio and conditioning work will mean he won’t have his legs under him when he does return. Meanwhile, Williamson will also have a limited minute workload to avoid any physical setback.
The Pelicans remain optimistic, but it’s hard to ignore the continued health issues piling up in his brief NBA career. In other words, it’s a concerning trend that New Orleans must monitor.
Pelicans’ future remains firmly tied to the star forward
Since entering the league, Williamson‘s health has remained a prominent topic of discussion.
Concerns about his weight coupled with a pair of surgeries only beg the question of whether he will ever move past leg problems. Williamson is an extremely talented player, but his inability to stay healthy is becoming alarming.
Despite only entering his third season, the 21-year-old is already dealing with questions regarding his long-term status in New Orleans. Williamson holds a $13.5 million club option for the 2022-23 campaign and is eligible for a five-year, $181 million rookie extension next offseason.
The Pelicans certainly want to build a long-term future with him as a centerpiece, but his persistent health problems linger. If he can stay on the court, New Orleans may have to consider other options.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.