Pelicans' David Griffin: Rumors Zion Injured Knee Due to Weight Are 'Asinine'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2019

METAIRIE, LA - MARCH 14: David Griffin, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, talks to the media during an introductory press conference on April 17, 2019 at Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
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David Griffin, the New Orleans Pelicans' executive vice president of basketball operations, refuted the notion Zion Williamson's weight was a factor behind his torn meniscus. 

"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.