NEW ORLEANS — It's just the news the Pelicans and the team's fans didn't need, nor want to hear. With the team needing to make a strong playoff push in the ultra competitive Western Conference, it looks like All-Star big man Zion Williamson will miss a minimum of five games, and perhaps several more as he recovers from a fractured foot.
NOLA.com's Christian Clark reported that the team's vice-president, David Griffin, said there is "no fixed timeline" on Williamson's return to the court, however, he said another series of medical tests would be run in 2 to 2 1/2 weeks to determine his status.
Even if Williamson were cleared to play at that time, it would mean he would miss at least five games, and likely more as it may take him time to get back into shape.
The Pelicans open the season in six days against Philadelphia. With the team's third head coach in three seasons, Willie Green, taking the reigns and with rumblings - though not from Zion - that he is not necessarily happy here, it would seem pivotal that the Pels don't get off to a poor start.
Preseason does not forecast the season, but the Pelicans have been getting pounded without Zion and their other star, Brandon Ingram.
Griffin said Thursday that his previous comment about being hopeful that he would be back on the court for the regular season, did not mean the start of the regular season, but "at any point during the season."
That doesn't sound promising.