NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Pelicans have ruled out Zion Williamson for Friday night’s game against the New York Knicks but have stopped short of providing a timeline for how much longer the All-Star forward will be sidelined by his right hamstring injury.
“After further evaluation, it has been determined that Zion Williamson will continue his rehabilitation and conditioning regimen,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement Thursday evening. “We will continue to monitor his progression and updates will be provided as warranted.”
The announcement comes a day after the Pelicans clinched a spot in the NBA postseason with a victory over Memphis that guaranteed the team a top-nine finish in the Western Conference — good enough for at least a play-in spot. New Orleans (41-39) still could finish in the top six and go straight to the playoffs if it wins its last two games and receives help in the form of losses by Golden State (42-38) or the Los Angeles Clippers (42-38).
Previous updates provided by the Pelicans said Williamson would continue his rehabilitation for multiple weeks before a re-evaluation of his injury. The latest provided no such timeline or detail. The Pelicans are scheduled to practice on Saturday before their regular-season finale at Minnesota on Sunday.
The injury-plagued Williamson has not played since leaving a game in Philadelphia on Jan. 3.
But if Williamson were able to return to form for the playoffs and remain healthy, his addition to the lineup would make the Pelicans a more formidable postseason threat than their regular-season record or seeding would otherwise indicate.
When the 6-foot-6, 280-pound Williamson has played, he’s been among the Pelicans’ most productive players, averaging 26 points and seven rebounds per game. In the 29 games he has played this season, New Orleans went 17-12.
Williamson has struggled to remain reliably healthy since being selected first overall by New Orleans in the 2019 NBA draft.
Now in his fourth year as a pro, he has played in a total of 114 games. He appeared in 61 games in his second NBA season, but that was the only season in which he played more than 30 games. He played in just 24 games as a rookie because of a knee injury and did not play at all in his third season because of a broken foot.