The New Orleans Pelicans have had an interesting offseason, albeit not an ideal one. They traded for Jonas Valanciunas in a win-now move, but failed to land a major free agent as they had hoped, instead scrambling a bit to land Devonte’ Graham in a sign-and-trade with the Hornets. More recently, there has been reporting indicating that the organization isn’t exactly in lock step, with frustrations about president of basketball operations David Griffin and concern over their ability to keep Zion Williamson long term.
Williamson is, without a doubt, the cornerstone of the franchise even considering the presence of Brandon Ingram, but the clock is ticking on the Pelicans to put the team around him needed to compete in the West. On top of the concerns about Williamson’s happiness in New Orleans, keeping their star big man healthy has also become a difficult task. Zion missed the start of his rookie season with a torn meniscus and, this summer, apparently suffered a fracture in his right foot that required surgery, which the Pelicans announced on Monday at media day.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) September 27, 2021
As Griffin notes, the timeline is set for Williamson to hopefully be back on the court by the time the regular season starts, but managing a foot injury can be a tricky proposition. One would think this would lead to at least some built in days off for Zion, as they’ll have to balance his long-term health with their quest for a playoff spot. On top of that, if he’s been rehabbing from a foot injury this summer, one would assume it will take him a bit of time to ramp up to full game shape — meaning even more conditioning questions about the young star than usual.
In total, it’s an unfortunate injury for Williamson and another hurdle for the Pelicans to figure out how to clear this season.