The New Orleans Pelicans have been trying desperately to hang on to a playoff position in the West over the past month and a half as Zion Williamson has been on the shelf with a hamstring injury.
At 29-28, they’ve been able to stay near .500 and in seventh in the West, hoping for a post-All-Star push with Williamson back in the lineup. Unfortunately, those plans for Zion have been scuttled after the All-Star forward aggravated his injury recently, with David Griffin telling reporters the expectation is for Williamson to miss several more weeks following the All-Star break, having already missed more than a month.
David Griffin says Zion Williamson re- aggravated his hamstring injury. He’s looking at missing multiple weeks post All-Star. Will be re-evaluated when they get back from ASG.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 12, 2023
It is a brutal setback for Williamson, who was averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in his 29 appearances this season, boasting a 60.8 percent field goal percentage. With Zion in the fold, the Pelicans were among the best teams in the West, but have struggled without him, even with Brandon Ingram returning from his own injury. New Orleans will now have to navigate what sounds like another month without Williamson (at the least), with further testing to come to determine his status for later this season.
The silver lining for New Orleans is they have one of the easier closing schedules in the league based on strength of schedule, but that still gets considerably more difficult to take advantage of with Williamson out and just 1.5 games separating them and the 11th place Jazz.