The New Orleans Pelicans announced some eyebrow-raising news at their media day Monday morning. Pelicans vice president David Griffin informed the media that All-Star forward Zion Williamson underwent surgery to repair a fractured foot earlier in the offseason and is hoping to return in time for the start of the regular season.
“Zion is returning from a foot surgery suffered at the beginning of summer — well the beginning of summer isn’t exactly accurate, but earlier in the offseason prior to summer league,” Griffin said. “He had a fractured right foot that was repaired surgically. His timeline should get him on the court in time for the regular season. That would be our hope and our view. We’re very optimistic about what that looks like. Unfortunately, I know that’s going to be taken as a very big negative for all of you. It’s really not for us because we were dealing with it all offseason. We feel very confident about where things are.”
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That means Williamson will be out for training camp and probably preseason games, and although Griffin said the team expects him to be ready for the start of the regular season it would be surprising if we see Williamson operating at a full workload immediately. He could be on a minutes restriction until he gets his feet back under him just out of precaution, but it sounds like the Pelicans aren’t worried about his progression at all.
Williamson dealt with a fractured left finger in 2020-21 that forced him to miss the final six games of the Pelicans’ regular season. Other than that absence, he had a relatively healthy season and earned his first All-Star nod in the process after averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He shot a ridiculous 61.1 percent from the field, which ranked eighth in the league, flexing his ability to be an absolute menace in the paint. Williamson took a leap last season, and much of New Orleans’ predicted success hinges on his performance and health.
While New Orleans doesn’t seem too concerned about the broken foot, this will be the second time in Williamson’s three-year career that he’ll enter the regular season dealing with an injury. In Williamson’s rookie season he was sidelined for the first 44 games of the season with a torn meniscus, and while this injury isn’t as severe as that, it’s still a reason to be cautious with the young franchise star.