Setbacks Continue for Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans
If you’ve been eagerly anticipating Zion Williamson’s return to the court for the New Orleans Pelicans this season, unfortunately, you’re in for disappointing news. Zion has been sidelined for the entire season as he recovers from a broken foot. However, his rehabilitation has been marred by multiple setbacks, leading to speculation that he may require a second surgery to address his initial injury.
The continuous stream of injuries has been a major setback for both Zion and the Pelicans. Since his arrival in New Orleans as the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, he has been plagued by one injury after another. Over the past three seasons, he has missed a total of 117 games, appearing in just 85. This year, he has yet to play a single game as he attempts to come back from a fractured right foot and subsequent surgery.
An Unfortunate Start for Zion
Zion’s rookie season was marked by a partial MCL tear, causing him to miss 34 games. However, when he finally stepped onto the court, the Pelicans witnessed the emergence of a budding superstar. In just 24 games, Zion showed impressive skills, averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Surprisingly, he also showcased a 42.5% shooting accuracy from beyond the arc, defying the initial skepticism surrounding his three-point capabilities.
Entering his second season, Zion continued to impress with the Pelicans. In 61 games, he displayed remarkable growth, averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken finger, causing him to miss the last two weeks of the season. Nonetheless, the Pelicans were thrilled with his progress and were hopeful for a successful 2021-22 season.
Devastating Offseason Injury
Tragedy struck during the offseason when Zion suffered a foot injury while participating in summer workouts. The diagnosis revealed a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, leading to surgical intervention. The Pelicans remained optimistic, hoping that Zion would be ready in time for the start of the regular season.
However, as training camp commenced, it became apparent that Zion’s recovery was behind schedule. The initial timeline set by the Pelicans was no longer feasible, and they were hopeful for a return by the end of 2021. Zion himself believed he could resume practice in early December, but he encountered further complications. Swelling and pain in his right foot during workouts prompted the team to conduct an MRI, which revealed another setback. In an attempt to expedite the healing process, the team administered an injection.
Unfortunately, the injection failed to yield the desired results, pushing Zion back to square one. Nearly two months later, frustration continues to mount, particularly for Zion. Considering the lack of progress, a second surgery appears to be the most likely course of action. Consequently, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to play any further part in the current season.
Uncertain Future in New Orleans
Zion is currently under contract for one more season under his initial four-year rookie deal, valued at $44.2 million. He is set to earn $13.5 million in the 2022-23 season. However, with his string of injuries outweighing his actual playing time, the Pelicans may be considering parting ways with the talented young player.
Zion has expressed his admiration for playing for the New York Knicks, stating that Madison Square Garden is his favorite venue to play basketball. In the 2018-19 season, the Knicks deliberately aimed to secure the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, hoping to acquire Zion. However, luck was not on their side as the Pelicans won the draft lottery and obtained the rights to Zion.
In hindsight, if given the chance to redo the 2019 NBA Draft, the Pelicans might consider passing on Zion and selecting Ja Morant as the number one pick. Morant, who currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, has been having a spectacular season, averaging 26.8 points and 6.9 assists per game. He was selected for the All-Star Game and was even a frontrunner for MVP in OG’s NBA Midseason Awards. Morant’s durability is also commendable, having played 176 games over the past three seasons compared to Zion’s 85.
In conclusion, Zion Williamson’s injury woes continue to plague him and the New Orleans Pelicans. The anticipation for his return has been met with disappointment, as setbacks and potential surgery loom in the air. With his future in New Orleans uncertain, the basketball world watches closely to see how this young superstar’s career will unfold.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will Zion Williamson be able to recover fully from his foot injury?
While there is always a possibility for a complete recovery, the multiple setbacks and potential second surgery indicate a challenging road ahead for Zion. The extent of his recovery will heavily depend on factors such as the success of any surgical intervention and his rehabilitation process.
2. How has Zion’s recurring injuries affected his performance and development as a player?
The frequent injuries have hindered Zion’s ability to consistently showcase his skills and fully develop as a player. The prolonged absences from the court disrupt his momentum, hinder his ability to gain experience, and limit his opportunities for growth and improvement.
3. What would Zion’s potential departure mean for the New Orleans Pelicans?
If the Pelicans decide to part ways with Zion, it would undoubtedly have a significant impact on the team’s future plans and trajectory. Losing a player of Zion’s caliber would require the organization to reassess their long-term strategies and potentially make adjustments to their roster and recruitment plans.
4. Which teams might be interested in acquiring Zion Williamson if he becomes available?
If Zion were to become available, numerous teams across the NBA would undoubtedly express interest in acquiring his services. The New York Knicks, a team that Zion himself has expressed admiration for, could be one potential suitor, given their previous pursuit of him during the 2019 NBA Draft.
5. How has Ja Morant’s performance compared to Zion Williamson’s in recent years?
Statistically, Ja Morant has had a more consistent and durable performance compared to Zion Williamson. Morant’s ability to stay healthy and contribute significantly to his team’s success has earned him accolades such as All-Star selections and a strong case for the Most Valuable Player award.