Injury bug bites rookie Zion Williamson once again

Zion Williamson (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Former Duke basketball one-and-done Zion Williamson could sit out a contest for the 45th time in his rookie campaign.

Last season, as a Duke basketball sensation and eventual national player of the year, Zion Williamson missed five games after blowing through his shoe and suffering a Grade 1 right knee sprain.

This season, as the No. 1 overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-6, 284-pound power forward missed the first 44 games for the New Orleans Pelicans after undergoing surgery in October to repair the torn meniscus in the same knee.

The seven games he has appeared in have come with no injury-related hiccups. In fact, Williamson has dazzled crowds the same way he did as a Blue Devil, averaging 19.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and a couple of high-flying acts per game.

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But on Wednesday, following Tuesday night’s 120-108 home loss to the 43-7 Milwaukee Bucks, the 20-31 Pelicans listed the 19-year-old on their injury report as questionable for the squad’s road game against the 19-33 Chicago Bulls at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Thankfully, the injury does not involve Williamson’s right knee. However, it does involve the same limb: a right toe sprain. The report does not say how or when the injury occurred.

Now, Williamson could indeed lace ’em up against the Bulls and, even if he doesn’t, may not miss more than the one game. Understandably, though, given the caution the franchise showed from October to January in keeping their foundation piece out of action for several weeks longer than most expected, Pelicans fans on Twitter immediately began hyperventilating over the report of the toe injury.

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The Pelicans — who boast four other Duke basketball products in Brandon Ingram, J.J. Redick, Jahlil Okafor, and Frank Jackson — are 3-4 since Zion Williamson’s return. After facing the Bulls, the team will stay on the road to play the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more updates, analyses, and opinions regarding Zion Williamson and all things Duke basketball — past, present, future, and in the NBA.