New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson "Not Close" to Return

The long, unfortunate saga of Zion Williamson has taken another turn. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the two-time All-Star's setback to his lingering hamstring injury was "significant" and will keep him out indefinitely.

Williamson has missed over two months since injuring his hamstring in early January. He suffered a setback during practice in February that was expected to keep him out multiple weeks past the All-Star break. Apparently, he has yet to show meaningful progress.

Williamson has missed a staggering amount of time since being drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019. In four seasons, he has totalled a mere 114 starts while averaging a tantalizing 25.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game with an excellent .643 true shooting percentage. Despite his lack of availability, the Pelicans signed him to a five-year rookie maximum extension worth $193 million in July of 2022.

Zion's absence has coincided with a stunning fall from grace for the Pelicans. They began the season 24-14, but they've gone 7-20 since Zion's exit. Clearly, the Pelicans' success this season and beyond will depend on his health. Barring some massive changes in either his fortunes or lifestyle, that will continue to be a dicey proposition.

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