With nothing to play for in the NBA bubble, the New Orleans Pelicans have announced some injury news on Zion Williamson.
With Sunday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs and Portland’s win over Philadelphia later in the day, the New Orleans Pelicans were eliminated from the NBA playoffs. On Monday they announced a list of players who will be out Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, including Zion Williamson,.
Much was made of Williamson’s minutes restriction in his first two games in the bubble, as he worked his way back into playing shape after having to leave Orlando for family reasons. He was rested last Friday against the Washington Wizards, on the second game of a back-to-back. But in the last three games he has played, he played at least 21 minutes and averaged 24 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. But also shot 50 percent or lower in two of those three games, with only one total 3-point attempt.
With nothing to play for and two games to go, the Pelicans are clearly taking no risks with their three best players after a dismal showing in the bubble. Williamson only played 24 games as a rookie anyway, as the team was cautious with that same right knee as he worked his way back from a significant injury. But he did produce, averaging 22.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while shooting north of 58 percent from the floor.
Some time to rest should help Williamson. The argument there is he had 4-5 months to rest while the NBA was on hiatus, and his knee was still ultimately a concern. Right or wrong his conditioning was a concern for the Pelicans when he returned to the bubble. How he’ll last playing at a listed 285 pounds will be a lingering thing too, until he loses weight or dismisses it by staying healthy at that weight.