After Zion Williamson recently suffered a setback in his rehab from a right foot injury, the New Orleans Pelicans aren't giving up hope that the star will be able to return to the court at some point this season.
According to ESPN's Andrew Lopez, the team believes Williamson may be able to play in 2021-22:
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.<a href="https://twitter.com/_Andrew_Lopez?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Andrew_Lopez</a> says the Pelicans still believe Zion Williamson will return to play this season.<br><br>"This is not a 'shut him down for the season' type of injury. ... They still feel like he can play basketball this year." <a href="https://t.co/sqZJQXVK0a">pic.twitter.com/sqZJQXVK0a</a>
Williamson had offseason surgery on a fractured right foot, with the expectation that he would return at some point in December. However, the Pelicans recently announced there has been "regression" in the healing process.
"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 announced in a statement Saturday. "As a result, the volume and intensity of his training will be reduced for an extended period to help allow for further bone healing."
Injuries have unfortunately been a theme of Williamson's young career. He played in just 24 games in his 2019-20 rookie season after a torn meniscus delayed his NBA debut until late January and COVID-19 cut the NBA regular season short.
He was far healthier in the 2020-21 campaign, playing in 61 of the 72 games that season and averaging an impressive 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting an impressive 61.1 percent from the field, though just 69.8 percent from the free-throw line and 29.4 percent from three.
When on the court, the 21-year-old is a force to be reckoned with, getting to the basket at will and finishing around the rim at an incredibly high rate. There are concerns about his game, namely his perimeter shooting, but there's little doubt that Williamson has a ton of potential and could be a truly dominant player if he keeps himself in shape and on the court.
But staying healthy has become an enormous concern. He's now played just 85 of a possible 183 games, a very worrying number. The Pelicans have playoff aspirations with Williamson on the court. Without him, they're just another lottery team, yet again.