Despite the initial reports of a quick return to action, the New Orleans Pelicans have placed Zion Williamson on a longer timeline to regain full fitness after his right hamstring injury. Following their most recent evaluation, it appears the young superstar “is healing as expected” and making strides in his recovery – though not at the pace initially thought.
The Pelicans star from Duke missed the last ten games prior to their Tuesday clash with the Nuggets where they opened as underdogs on Louisiana sportsbooks. His absence is surely felt in New Orleans as they are 3-7 in that stretch, including four straight losses blowing a 16-point lead against the Heat.
Pels are Being Conservative
Since sustaining a right hamstring strain on January 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, Zion Williamson has spent the intervening weeks rehabilitating and recovering. Judging by his performance prior to the injury, however, it was clear that he was off to a great start this NBA season – averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in the 29 games before he went down injured.
Given both these factors, it’s understandable why the Pelicans would be taking things incredibly cautiously with one of their brightest stars – they want to ensure he fully recovers and maintains his form when he returns so that they can maintain their impressive position near the top of the Western Conference standings.
“The healing progress is going accordingly,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said.
“The first step is that he’ll be able to be on the court but more stationary shooting, stationary ball-handling — a little movement as far as off the court.”
More Games Without Zion
While the recent update on Williamson’s injury is an “absolutely positive” one, the Pels will have to continue for another seven games, including their game against the Atlanta Hawks on February 7 – the day on which he will be re-evaluated.
Continuing his strength training and moving into more movement exercises will be necessary before he can make it back onto the court after two more weeks. The team is undoubtedly hoping this extra rest period will put him in tip-top shape when he makes his return.
Brandon Ingram Update
Coach Green also stated that Brandon Ingram, who has been out due to a large left-toe injury, is not yet ready to make his return against the Nuggets. As such, Ingram will miss his 29th consecutive game since suffering the injury.
Ingram has also been a vital piece in the Pels squad with his 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists on 47.2% shooting.