Pelicans: Zion Williamson’s foot is improving, but no timeline

Zion Williamson’s recovery from a right foot injury has improved to the point that he can gradually return to basketball, the New Orleans Pelicans said Wednesday.

However, there is no schedule left for when he could play in a game.

The announcement came after doctors reviewed recent imaging of Williamson’s foot and saw evidence of “improved bone healing”.

“We are all satisfied with the results, that he progresses. But there is still a long road ahead of him,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He is aware of it, but he is taking the necessary steps to continue to improve. We’ll see how it goes.

Williamson, who averaged 27 points and was an All-Star last season, was trying to return to training in mid-December after an injury that arose over the summer. But imagery of his foot at the time revealed a setback and the club said Williamson would stop training and focus on recovery.

Williamson then received a “biological injection” intended to improve bone healing. And courtesy of the Pelicans, Williamson left New Orleans in early January to continue his recovery on his own in Oregon.

Drafted first overall out of Duke in 2019, Williamson played just 24 games as a rookie due to a preseason right knee (lateral meniscus) injury. In his second season, he played 61 of 72 games.

He injured his foot last summer while doing basketball drills with his stepfather, whom he entrusted with his off-season training.

The Pelicans revealed the injury on the first day of training camp in September, saying they hoped he would be ready to play for the regular season opener on October 20. Williamson initially agreed with that timeline, which has since proven overly optimistic by at least five months.

Without Williamson, the Pelicans started 1-12 but steadily climbed in contention for a Western Conference playoff spot. They also acquired goaltender CJ McCollum from Portland two days before the NBA trade deadline in a bid to solidify their recent standings gains.

After losing four of five games after the trade, the Pelicans returned from the All-Star break with back-to-back road wins over Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Going into Wednesday night’s home game against Sacramento, the Pelicans (25-36) and Portland (25-36) were tied for 10th and final play-in spot in the West with 21 regular season games remaining.


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