Pelicans' Zion Williamson Suffers Setback in Foot Injury Rehab, Will Be Shut Down

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 11, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson sits on the bench in street clothes before the start of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson is still experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired right foot and will have his rehab workload scaled back accordingly. 

“After experiencing persistent soreness in his right foot, Zion Williamson underwent medical imaging, which showed a regression in the bone healing of his fifth metatarsal," the team said in a statement. "As a result, the volume and intensity of his training will be reduced for an extended period to help allow for further bone healing."

The 21-year-old averaged 27.0 points on 61.1 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 2020-21 for the Pelicans.

Williamson has missed the first 28 games of the Pels' 2021-22 season following his offseason surgery. He was supposed to be ready for the start of the season.

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

David Griffin on Zion's injury update<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pelicans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pelicans</a> <a href="https://t.co/5WjdV0VpVe">pic.twitter.com/5WjdV0VpVe</a>

The Duke product was cleared for full basketball activities Nov. 26, per Charania, who then offered this update on Dec. 2:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson experienced a slight delay in his rehab due to soreness in his injured right foot. Team is optimistic it is not serious but will dial back his ramp up in approximately a week.

Without the star, the team has languished near the bottom of the Western Conference with an 8-20 record.

Josh Hart has been in the starting lineup in place of Williamson as the team opts for a smaller lineup. He's played at small forward, with Brandon Ingram moving to the 4 and offseason acquisition Jonas Valanciunas patrolling the paint. New Orleans has rolled with a backcourt of Devonte' Graham and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

Adding Williamson back into the mix would be a welcome sight for New Orleans. The postseason is likely out of reach given the team's tough start, but the Pels can finish the campaign strong and work on building positive momentum into next year.