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Zion Williamson out for Pelicans vs. Clippers After Inconclusive Test Result

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) smiles after dunking on Minnesota Timberwolves forward Juan Hernangomez (41) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans have announced that star Zion Williamson will miss Wednesday's game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers because of the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy announced before Wednesday's game that Williamson had received an inconclusive test result:

Now, the second-year star must undergo further testing before returning to the court.

Williamson underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in October 2019. His recovery dragged on well beyond what the Pelicans originally expected, and he didn't make his on-court debut until Jan. 22, 2020.

Once he finally played, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick lived up to the hype. He averaged 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 58.3 percent from the floor in 24 appearances. The 6'6", 285-pound forward was at times simply too strong for the competition as he bullied his way into the paint or fought for rebounds.

Questions about Williamson's durability and injury risk arose before he entered the NBA since his frame makes him something of a physical outlier in the league.

New Orleans went so far as to work with him on how he runs and walks during his knee rehab to help alleviate the pressure he puts on his knees.

Much like how Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard are handled by their respective teams, the Pelicans will be proactive when it comes to managing Williamson's workload for the foreseeable future. As much as they want to win now, their focus will be on ensuring the Duke star can hold up over the long haul.

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Taking him out of the lineup for a game or two might be the price to pay to limit the chances he suffers a serious injury. In this case, however, it appears Williamson isn't dealing with injury concerns.