Just when it seemed like the Pelicans were getting closer to the return of Zion Williamson, it appears the star forward has suffered a setback.
Williamson has yet to suit up for New Orleans so far this season as he recovers from offseason foot surgery. The team originally announced on Nov. 26 that he has been cleared to participate in full team activities, but days later, he was shut down from basketball activities once again.
On Dec. 16, the Pelicans announced that Williamson would be re-evaluated in four-to-six weeks after receiving an injection in his right foot.
The Pelicans provided an update on Jan. 5 that Williamson is continuing his rehab on his injured foot away from the team in Portland.
“As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult process for me,” Williamson said in a statement. “I know there’s work to be done in my recovery before I can safely return to the court, but I will continue to put in the time necessary so I can get back on the floor with my team and represent Pelicans fans and the city of New Orleans at the highest level.
What’s next for Williamson? Here’s everything we know about his injury and the latest news on when he may return to the court.
Zion Williamson injury timeline
It was revealed during the team’s media day that Williamson underwent surgery to repair a fractured right foot during the offseason. Williamson is said to have suffered the injury prior to the start of the 2021 NBA Summer League.
The Pelicans were initially hopeful that his timeline would “get him back on the court in time for the regular season.”
When could Zion Williamson return from injury?
The Pelicans announced on Friday, Nov. 26 that Williamson had been cleared to participate in full team activities. They also included a note that Williamson played full-court 4-on-4 in practice, which seemed like a huge step in the right direction for the one-time All-Star.
Unfortunately, news broke on Dec. 2 that Williamson was experiencing soreness in his foot, delaying his return, and now the team has announced he has been shut down altogether.
“After experiencing persistent soreness in his right foot, Zion Williamson underwent medical imaging which showed a regression in the bone healing of his fifth metatarsal,” the Pelicans’ official release stated on Dec. 11.
“As a result, the volume and intensity of his training will be reduced for an extended period to help allow for further bone healing. Additional updates will be provided as warranted.”
On Dec. 16, the franchise announced that “following a consultation and further evaluation with Dr. Richard Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute yesterday, Zion Williamson received a biologic injection into the fracture site to stimulate bone healing in his right foot.”
As a result, Williamson will be limited to low-impact activities for an extended period of time and will be re-evaluated in four-to-six weeks, meaning the next update could come in mid- to late January.
It appears that we are further away from Williamson’s return than originally expected, and with the Pelicans sitting towards the bottom of the Western Conference, there is not much of a rush to get the young star back on the floor.
Below, you can find the Pelicans’ schedule for the next few weeks.
|Jan. 6||vs. Golden State||8:00 PM|
|Jan. 9||@ Toronto||6:00 PM|
|Jan. 11||vs. Minnesota||8:00 PM|
|Jan. 13||vs. LA Clippers||8:00 PM|
|Jan. 15||@ Brooklyn||7:30 PM|
|Jan. 17||@ Boston||12:30 PM|
|Jan. 20||@ New York||7:30 PM|
|Jan. 24||vs. Indiana||8:00 PM|
|Jan. 25||@ Philadelphia||7:00 PM|
|Jan. 28||vs. Denver||8:00 PM|
|Jan. 29||vs. Boston||7:00 PM|
|Jan. 31||@ Cleveland||7:00 PM|
Zion Williamson injury history
The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson was limited to 24 games in his rookie season after he underwent surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus.
Williamson appeared in 61 of a possible 72 games in his sophomore season and earned the first All-Star selection of his career with averages of 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He missed the last seven games of the season with a fractured left ring finger.