Fans waiting to see Pelicans star Zion Williamson take the court will just have to keep waiting it seems as his latest injury update doesn’t bring good news.
When the Pels (41-39) make the Western Conference play-in tournament, he “is unlikely to return to action in next week’s Play-In Tournament,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. “The team has been cautious with Williamson’s comeback as he continues rehab process.”
Prior to Charania’s report, the team announced he would definitely not be participating in their last two regular season games.
“After further evaluation, it has been determined that Zion Williamson will continue his rehabilitation and conditioning regimen,” Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor his progression, and updates will be provided as warranted.”
Speaking to the media on Friday, Griffin expanded on his statement.
“I would say that if you just look at, like, the logistics of where we’re at, it’s not possible to get the work in that would put him in a 5-on-5 workout in time for any play-in,” Griffin said. “I think, based on today, our best possible outcome would be if everything lined up perfectly, maybe you’re in a position to practice prior to a first-round [series] or maybe during a first-round [series].
“But it’s gonna take more than one, right? So it’s really hard. And again, we may never get to that point either. If it’s not a situation where all those things align and he feels the way he needs to feel, then we’re not gonna let him go to the next phase.”
Williamson has played in only 29 games this season and initially injured his hamstring in early January against Philly but then suffered a setback in early February upon his return and re-injured the hamstring.
“He hasn’t been quote, ‘re-injured’,” Griffin explained. “He’s never even reported soreness. It’s more like a hesitancy you can see,” Griffin said. “I think we went through this before with Brandon Ingram, when he said, when I feel like me, I’ll play. You can see when somebody is trusting it and confident, and he’s not in that space right now.”
The Pelicans can finish no worse than the No. 9 seed and will definitely have a shot at making the playoffs through the play-in as they did last season.
As it stands, New Orleans are tied for seventh with the LAL and a game behind the LAC (42-38) and Golden State (42-38).