March 2, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

Zion Williamson injury update: Pelicans star remains out through the Play-In Tournament with hamstring strain

Zion Williamson injury update: Pelicans star remains out through the Play-In Tournament with hamstring strain

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson isn’t expected to return ahead of the team’s projected play-in game next week, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Pelicans announced Thursday that the All-Star forward would continue rehabbing his injured hamstring and the team will release further information as necessary. 

Despite Williamson remaining out through the rest of the regular season and the play-in the Pelicans didn’t rule out a possible return if they secure one of the final playoff spots in the West.

At 41-39, the Pelicans are in eighth place in the crowded Western Conference playoff picture and have clinched at least a spot in next week’s Play-In Tournament. Sitting one game behind both the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors with two games to play, they are still in the mix for a top-six seed and guaranteed playoff spot as well. 

Williamson originally strained his hamstring while running down the court on a fastbreak during a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 2. The initial timeline, though always a bit optimistic, was three weeks, and he was well past that point when he suffered a significant setback in early February. Then a  report from The Athletic in March indicated that the Pelicans were hoping to have Williamson back for the playoffs, but it remains unclear if that will happen. 

When Williamson suffered the initial injury, the Pelicans were 23-14 and sitting a game out of first place in the Western Conference. Without Williamson, they collapsed. They were dealing with other injuries as well, including the lengthy absence of Brandon Ingram, but it was still a surprise to see them play so poorly. At one point they lost 10 games in a row, and after another bad stretch to start March they fell to four games under .500 at 33-37.

They have righted the ship since then, however, going 8-2 to secure at least a play-in spot. But while they’ve shown lately, and last season in the first round of the playoffs, that they can be competitive without Williamson, their ceiling is many levels lower without him on the floor. 

In 29 games prior to Williamson’s hamstring issue, he averaged 26 points, seven rebounds and 4.6 assists, while shooting 60.8{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} from the field. He was named an All-Star starter, but did not play in the game due to the injury.