"The notion that this happened because Zion is in poor condition is asinine," Griffin said, per ESPN's Andrew Lopez. "He wasn't in poor condition when he went 12-of-13 last week against Utah. That's not what it is. He's just a very unique body type and certainly from a physics perspective."
The Pelicans confirmed Monday that Williamson will miss six to eight weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Williamson's fitness was also discussed during the NBA Summer League when he bruised his knee in his debut and didn't play in another game. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski argued the former Blue Devils star was in "playing shape or the mental shape to play" over the summer.
In general, the concerns over Williamson's frame aren't any sort of reflection of his work ethic but instead center on how much of a physical outlier he is.
Griffin acknowledged the team is still figuring out the right balance: "Less weight, less torque is a theory. But you look at a player like Blake Griffin who generated enormous torque and had the issues he had in his career. It took a while for him to find stasis in his body and we think that could be the same with Zion."
The 19-year-old is officially listed at 6'6" and 284 pounds. To put those numbers into perspective, Joel Embiid is six inches taller and 34 pounds lighter. LeBron James also tips the scales at 250 pounds and has three inches on Williamson.
Especially for somebody who plays above the rim so much, it's fair to wonder how Williamson's knees will hold up over the course of a season. This is his second notable injury after he blew out his shoe in a February game against North Carolina and sprained his right knee.
As much as fans want to see Williamson on the court, the Pelicans might be smart—at least early on—to handle him similar to how the Philadelphia 76ers have carefully managed Embiid's minutes amid long-term concerns over his physical health.