NEW ORLEANS — The Pelicans will be without their new franchise star for the first six to eights weeks of the 2019 season.
The team announced Monday that Zion Williamson had successful surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. The timetable for his full recovery is up to two months, they said.
Williamson missed the team's preseason finale with 'knee soreness' after lighting up the Pelicans' early match ups. It was originally unclear how long he would be out, with initial reports only saying it would be several weeks.
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.
The Pelicans have been plagued by injuries the past few seasons with injuries to DeMarcus Cousins, Elfrid Payton and periodic injuries to now-Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davis.
The 19-year-old, 6'7" Williamson was the No.1 overall draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Duke University. His highly anticipated debut in the league will now have to wait. The surgery means he'll miss at least 20 games.
The Pelicans' season opener is Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against the defending NBA champion Raptors in Toronto. Their first two games are both national televised, on TNT and ESPN, because those networks expected to see Williamson. In four preseason games, he averaged 23 points per game.
Experts say the injury should not be a long-term problem, but it's a tough way to start the season for the Pelicans.
Their home opener is Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks in the Smoothie King Center.