Zion Williamson will miss the start of the NBA regular season as he recovers from right knee soreness, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Williamson was held out of the New Orleans Pelicans preseason finale with the injury after incredible production and some breathtaking moments through four exhibition games to open his pro career.
It already feels like there is little doubt that Williamson will be a star in the NBA if he stays healthy. Unfortunately, that’s been a problem for Williamson over the last few years. Everyone remembers Zion’s foot busting through his shoe at Duke, but his injury issues date all the way back to high school.
The Pelicans listed Williamson at 6’6 and 284 pounds. As we’ve known since his college days, that makes him the second heaviest player in the league behind Mavericks 7’3 center Boban Marjanovic. The same thing that makes Williamson so mesmerizing to watch — his combination of speed and power at an unprecedented weight — also makes us worry about his health.
We’ll be monitoring Williamson’s injuries all season long. This is everything you need to know about his health status.
Williamson’s right knee soreness will cause him to miss the start of the regular season
Williamson believes he hurt himself in an Oct. 13 preseason game against the Spurs in which he finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Ahead of the team’s preseason finale against the Knicks, the Pelicans sent as a press release saying he would be sidelined with right knee soreness.
The injury is not severe, according to Wojnarowski. The reporter also noted the Pelicans are “clearly treating injury with an abundance of caution but there’s no shortage of confidence on full recovery.”
Woj framed the news with optimism, but those who have followed Williamson’s career know that this has been a recurring theme.
Williamson was hurt in Summer League, too
Zion Williamson took knee to knee hit in first half. Will not return with left knee injury. It’s not expected to be serious but the Pelicans are taking a cautious approach with their #1 pick during this summer league.
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) July 6, 2019
The Pelicans noted they were operating with an ‘abundance of caution’ in a team press release. “Zion will move forward from this incident without issue,” said team president David Griffin.
Williamson’s knee injury at Duke was the most memorable moment of the college season
Only 30 seconds into the first Duke vs. North Carolina game of the season, Williamson fell down awkwardly as his foot busted through his shoe during a quick move to the basket.
The sports world felt like it froze in that moment. The official diagnosis on Williamson’s injury was a Grade 1 right knee sprain. He would miss three weeks, but returned for Duke’s ACC tournament run. He was immediately a superstar upon his return.
Williamson also had a knee injury in high school
Williamson suffered a deep knee bruise in April 2017 that caused him to miss a few months of “AAU” ball. Here’s what Williamson said about the injury at the time:
“It was during a warmup prior to the first week of the AAU season. We were in Arkansas and it was hot and the floor was slippery and he fell one time on it and I saw that knee hit that floor and the next morning he told me that knee was swollen,” said Williamson’s step-father, Lee Anderson. “We had the doctors look at it and they said it was a deep contusion so we just got him off of it. He went to Dallas and played in the very first game and he wasn’t 100 percent and I could tell, so we just shut him down.”
Williamson also suffered a foot injury that caused him to miss time during his senior year. He also missed the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic as a prep player with a hand injury.
Injuries are the only thing that can stop Zion
Zion is a superstar in the making, he just has to stay healthy. Please let these early career injuries be a blip on the radar, not a sign of things to come.