The NBA Playoffs are in full swing, but a former Duke basketball star will not be taking the floor.
One of the biggest mysteries in the NBA season has been the health of former Duke basketball sensation Zion Williamson.
Williamson reportedly broke a bone in his foot in the offseason, which was not supposed to keep him out for any games in the regular season, per David Griffin.
Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, said during his media day press conference that Williamson would play in the team’s season opener. The former No. 1 overall pick echoed those sentiments moments later in October.
Fast forward to April, and the former Blue Devil has not come close to stepping on the floor this season and will not do so for the remainder of the year.
New Orleans was one of the worst teams in the NBA to begin the 2021-22 campaign, but a trade that brought CJ McCollum to the Pelicans jumpstarted a midseason run to the Play-In Tournament, creating the buzz around Williamson’s return.
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Videos surfaced of Zion dunking and taking part in 1-on-1 drills as the playoffs drew closer.
However, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez reported this week that the two sides have differing opinions on how healthy the All-Star is in order to play in the playoffs.
Zion Williamson thinks he can play.
The Pelicans claim the broken bone in his foot has not completely healed and he still cannot play.
The drama between the two sides started early in his rookie year as he thought he was ready to return from a torn meniscus sooner than the team brought him back.
It has created rumors that Zion Williamson is unhappy with the front office in New Orleans and could be looking to bolt from the organization as quickly as possible.
New Orleans Pelicans correct in keeping Duke basketball star sidelined
New Orleans will win this battle as Zion Williamson will not play this season regardless of how far the team advances in the playoffs, and it is the right decision.
Williamson has not played all season, and the Pelicans have already won two elimination games, both in the Play-In Tournament, before dropping Game 1 of the First Round to the Phoenix Suns.
The franchise has to have his best interest at the forefront before potentially risking him to further injury in a season in which the team does not have a realistic shot at winning a championship.
Perhaps the lost season will benefit a healthy Zion Williamson entering next year as New Orleans will look to make a charge up the standings in the loaded Western Conference.
Game 2 of the series between the Pelicans and the Suns is Tuesday, April 19 at 10:30 p.m. EST (TNT).