The New Orleans Pelicans have been hanging on a single thread all season long. After a hot start, Zion Williamson's injury seemingly derailed the team. They went from battling for a top-four spot to a Play-In Tournament seed. Unfortunately for the Pels, Zion isn't returning anytime soon. The star forward is officially out for the Play-In Tournament, per Shams Charania.

Zion Williamson has been out of commission for the Pelicans with a hamstring injury this year. Williamson has an unfortunate history of dealing with lower limb injuries: his first major injury was a foot fracture that kept him out for most of his rookie year. Unfortunately, this new hamstring injury doesn't seem to get better.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

The Pelicans have stayed alive for the season, but it hasn't been pretty. They relied on a steady diet of Brandon Ingram's brilliance to carry them through the year. They currently hold the eighth seed in the West, which guarantees them at most two games in the Play-In Tournament (and two chances to make it to the dance).

It's not going to get any easier for the Pelicans, though. For one, there's still a chance of them falling to the ninth seed and getting forced into two straight do-or-die games. Even if New Orleans keeps their eighth seed, they either face the defending champs Warriors or the white-hot Lakers. None of those sound like good options for them, to be honest.

The Pelicans will need to weather the absence of Zion Williamson in order to buy time for his return.