NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans have one word to describe people who think Zion Williamson is out of shape: Asinine.
Pels VP of Operations David Griffin said that Zion is in “elite condition” and that his weight had nothing to do with the knee injury that could hold him out for the first two months of the season.
“He can be 274 lbs. and 8.5% body fat," Griffin said at a shoot around Tuesday. “He gains muscle mass and gains weight so fast, no one’s ever dealt with anyone like that before. The notion that this happened somehow because Zion’s in poor condition is just asinine.”
Zion had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee Monday. Griffin said that the surgery went well and the team is extremely optimistic that he won't miss a beat once he's back.
The team can’t pinpoint a moment when the injury happened. Griffin said Zion told trainers about it during a practice after their preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs.
“He didn’t have any symptoms,” Griffin said. “Even then he didn’t say he had pain and he didn’t have swelling.”
Zion is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Griffin said to expect his return to be on the longer side of the estimate, since the team is focused more on his long-term health rather than a quick return.
The surgery was performed by the team's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Misty Suri, and Dr. Jason Folk. Team officials said the "routine" procedure to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee was a success.
While Zion is out, the Pelicans deep roster will get a chance to shine. Griffin said that he expects forward Brandon Ingram to play more time at the 4 (Zion’s starting position).
“Every team is at the mercy of injuries,” Griffin said. “Nobody is looking at this as ‘we’re not going to win games.’ We have expectations that we’re going to figure this out and we will.”
The Pelicans tip off Tuesday night against the reigning champion Toronto Raptors at 7 p.m. CST.