Zion Williamson says he feels fine physically but still isn’t ready to return to the court.
Williamson, who has been out since January 2 with a right hamstring strain, said he will return “when I feel like Zion”.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “Not going to lie to you. It’s been very frustrating. Not being able to play sucks. But I mean, things have gotten better. Things have gotten a lot better.
“Physically I’m fine, now it’s just a matter of when I feel like Zion. I know the atmosphere I’d be entering based off like the playoff experience. So now it’s just a matter of when I feel like Zion.”
He was then asked what exactly “feeling like Zion” meant.
“I don’t feel like there are any specific benchmarks for being Zion,” he said. “It’s just a matter of like, you know, when I feel like myself. Just feeling like myself and knowing that I can go out there and have a big impact for my team.”
Williamson added that he did not want to return too soon and negatively impact the Pelicans on the court.
“It’s a little bit of a mental battle, because you know when I reaggravated [the injury] back in February, it was tough,” he said. “So when I go to make certain moves, there is that hesitation. Sometimes there’s not and sometimes there is. And I understand the magnitude of these games coming up and I don’t want to be out there hesitating or doing something that may affect my team in a bad way.”
In the event of a Pelicans victory over the Thunder in the play-in on Wednesday, they would then play the loser of Lakers vs Timberwolves.
Zion is not expected to play in either contest, but if New Orleans win both potential play-in games and make it through to a first round series against the Nuggets, Williamson is leaving the door open for a return.
“If I feel like Zion, I’ll be out there,” he reiterated.