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Pelicans’ Zion Williamson (fractured left finger) out indefinitely

Pelicans, Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans are still alive in the pursuit of the 10th and final seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Their hunt for the postseason was dealt a severe blow on Friday. It was disclosed that Zion Williamson has a fractured left ring finger and will be out indefinitely.

The Pelicans entered Friday with six games left on their regular-season schedule. They are 30-36, 1.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs, who are 31-34 and occupy the No. 10 spot in the West. The Spurs have just five games left on their schedule. The team which finishes No. 10 would play the No. 9 team in the West. The winner gets to play the loser of the 7-versus-8 play-in game in a do-or-die battle for the No. 8 seed in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Given that Zion Williamson has suffered an injury of notable significance this late in the regular season, it is hard to imagine the Pelicans bringing him back at any point before the end of the regular season. The long-term future of the franchise is more important than a No. 10 spot and a one-game play-in opportunity. Nevertheless, we’ll see what happens.

If you look at the Pelicans’ remaining games, none of them are easy. They face the Philadelphia 76ers Friday, then the play-in-bound Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

The Pelicans play the Memphis Grizzlies — currently ninth in the West and also ticketed for the play-in round — on Monday, May 10. The Pels visit the Dallas Mavericks, currently fifth in the West, on Wednesday, May 12.

The Pelicans finish with a game at the Golden State Warriors — currently eighth in the West — on Friday, May 14. Their finale is a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, May 16. If the Lakers need that game to escape the play-in round, the Lake Show would gain a noticeable advantage if Zion is unable to play. We will see about the diagnosis and the plan of treatment.

Stay with ClutchPoints for more on this story, and on Zion’s recovery timetable.