Fans of the New Orleans Pelicans can be forgiven for getting their hopes up following an under-the-radar injury status update on Zion Williamson. The two-time NBA All-Star spoke a day before facing off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second game of their first-round NBA Playoffs series. Williamson's words immediately stoked the fires of hope throughout the Gulf South hoops world.

The Pelicans-Thunder sparring session will be lacking Williamson's star power for at least one more game. The Duke alum would be one huge force multiplier to bring into the fold, however, that all depends on meeting rehab goals. The staff is not going with short-sighted gut feelings when it comes to any long-term risk to the franchise's championship cornerstone.

Williamson was still reminiscing about the NBA Play-In Tournament loss when cornered in Oklahoma City.

“I was just kind of in one of them zones. I just wanted to win,” Williamson stated. “Whatever it took, I wanted to do that. I really wanted to win that game (versus the Los Angeles Lakers). Like I said, it was frustrating but despite all that we still made the playoffs. It's an exciting environment. I wish I was out there but it's still exciting to be a part of it.”

Williamson averaged approximately 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists this season. The momentum his return would generate for the Pelicans cannot be understated. As far as coming back for a game against the Thunder, do not rule it out.

“(Coming back this series) is definitely realistic,” allowed Williamson. “It is absolutely realistic. I have to pass test, get back to baseline, and hopefully, I'll be out there.”

Zion Williamson details the latest injury

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The usually jovial Williamson could not hide a deflated mood when asked about the timing of the injury though at least it was to a different leg with a lesser degree of pain.

“Last year, the right side was a sharper pain. This one didn't really feel like that. It just felt like something is off right now,” Zion Williamson detailed. “It was super demoralizing at first. I can't lie. The season had been going so well so for that to happen just demoralizing,” Williamson shared. “It took a good day or two to kind of get passed that. Now I'm back on what I've been saying all year. Stacking my days and getting back on the court.”

Thankfully, it was not a compounded injury. The knock was not a bruise from earlier in the game reaggravated but a fluke injury on the last play Williamson was on the court.

“It was definitely that last play,” Williamson confirmed. “When I went to rise is when I felt it. It was super frustrating at that point in the game. Super frustrating but my teammates, they handled business and here we are in the playoffs. That's still exciting. I'm excited for them and hopefully, I'll be able to return.”

That May 1 date matters. TNT sideline reporter Stephanie Ready read directly from the notes given by Pelicans EVP David Griffin.

“David Griffin told me that the performance team has a plan in place, but it's not something that we'll likely see developing in view of the public eye,” Ready relayed. “(Griffin) said that Zion is doing everything that the medical team asks of him, and that his diligence with performance is unrecognizable from earlier. Remember guys, he's being re-evaluated in about two weeks, which puts that date around May 1st. And then from that point, they'll have to see where he is.”

The Pelicans and Thunder are scheduled for a Game 2 tipoff on April 24. Then there are two travel/rest days before Game 3 (April 27) and Game 4 (April 29) in New Orleans. Game 5 will be on May 1. The Pelicans will likely need to win at least one game to get Williamson back into the fold for this series.

At least there is hope though, and unlike years passed, fans got to hear it from Williamson and the team.