Duke basketball: Zion Williamson will not play in do-or-die Play-In Tournament

The Blue Devil superstar has been sidelined with an injury at an inopportune time
Apr 16, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts
Apr 16, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It was set up to be a comeback for the ages before an injury derailed the 40-point game from former Duke basketball superstar Zion Williamson.

He was in the midst of leading the New Orleans Pelicans from an 18-point deficit against the Los Angeles Lakers and tied the game at 95 on a floater with 3:19 remaining before suffering a leg injury.

The former No. 1 overall pick went to the locker room and never returned to the floor as the team called it lower leg soreness after its 110-106 loss, which was later diagnosed as a left hamstring injury.

Williamson underwent an MRI on Wednesday to reveal the extent of the injury and he will be sidelined for multiple weeks, missing Friday night's do-or-die Play-In Tournament matchup against the Sacramento Kings.

He will be reevaluated in a "couple weeks" according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, assuming the Pelicans advance to the first round of the playoff with a victory. Williamson played only 29 games, none after January 2, last season due to a right hamstring injury.

New Orleans is 5-0 against Sacramento this season and the winner will face the top-seed Oklahoma City Thunder beginning Sunday.

Injuries have been an issue for Zion Williamson throughout his career but he was able to play a career-high 70 games this season, averaging 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.

The Pelicans will need a much better game from former Blue Devil Brandon Ingram, who only finished with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting in the loss to the Lakers.

Ingram was only playing in his second game since March 21 after returning from a knee injury. He averaged 20.8 points per contest in each 64 games this season.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET (TNT) on Friday night in New Orleans.