Less than a week removed from tipoff of the regular season, Zion Williamson’s timeline to return to the floor remains a mystery to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Meeting with reporters on Thursday, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin confirmed the assumption his team’s franchise player would be unavailable for at least the first few games of 2021-22. More troubling, Griffin also revealed the next step toward Williamson’s debut will be additional imaging of his surgically repaired right foot scheduled to take place in two-and-a-half weeks:
Once Zion gets re-scanned in the next 2-2.5 week period, Pelicans will be able to take the next step in his recovery process. https://t.co/gPV03YJUAG
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) October 14, 2021
Williamson broke his right foot while working out over the summer, a development only made public for the first time during New Orleans’ Media Day in late September. Griffin originally expressed confidence the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft would be healthy enough to play in the regular season opener.
“He had a fractured right foot that was repaired surgically,” Griffin said on September 27th, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “His timeline should get him back on the court in time for the regular season. That would be our hope and our view. And we’re very optimistic about what that looks like.”
So much for that optimism, and now Griffin is backtracking and trying to spin away those Media Day comments:
Griff clarified today that "his timeline should get him back on the court in time for regular season" comment meant any time during the regular season, not the start of the regular season.
— Christian Clark (@cclark_13) October 14, 2021
Williamson, beset by injuries through his brief NBA career, began to live up to his immense pre-draft hype last season, averaging 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting a staggering 61.1 percent from the floor. New Orleans opens the regular season on Oct. 20 against the Philadelphia 76ers, over a week before Williamson is slated to be re-evaluated by team medical personnel.