Forward Zion Williamson is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, but the New Orleans Pelicans are not concerned about the No. 1 overall pick's health moving forward.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, neither Williamson nor the Pelicans have been able to identify a specific moment or play when the injury occurred. Coach Alvin Gentry previously told reporters the injury may have occurred during an Oct. 13 exhibition against the San Antonio Spurs.
Charania noted the team does not believe Williamson's 6'6", 285-pound frame played a role in the injury, and it reportedly won't rush the 19-year-old phenom back onto the court.
Williamson's health has been a major topic of concern since his one-and-done season at Duke, when he suffered a right knee sprain Feb. 20 after his shoe blew out less than a minute into a showdown with archrival North Carolina:
He wound up being sidelined for about three weeks by the injury.
Now, he is dealing with knee troubles once again as his professional career begins.
Williamson more than lived up to the hype during the preseason, averaging 23.3 points on 71.4 percent shooting and 6.5 rebounds during four appearances.
Under the six-week timetable, Williamson would miss approximately 20 games. Sitting out the full eight weeks would put him at risk of missing upward of 30 contests.
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Zion Williamson will be the 4th No. 1 overall pick to miss the season opener of his first season in the last 25 seasons (@EliasSports) Over the last 10 years, only 3 No. 1 picks have missed 20+ games in their first season (Fultz, Simmons & A. Bennett) https://t.co/eRL2yT5Cdc
Williamson was brought in to help usher in a new era of basketball in New Orleans following the trade of six-time All-Star Anthony Davis. Along with Williamson, the Pelicans also added JJ Redick, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Derrick Favors and Jaxson Hayes.
Starting the season without Williamson will make it tougher for the Pelicans to contend in 2019-20. But with the forward expected to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come, it appears the organization is willing to take a cautious approach as it looks to prevent his knee from being an issue in the future.