NBA rumors: Zion Williamson feels like he could have played but team, staff and front office decided against it

More on Zion Williamson Injury

Zion Williamson has not been ruled out for the entire season, but the New Orleans Pelicans have revealed to Cassidy Hubbarth that "a return to play is not imminent." There is "no chance" Williamson would not play in a possible play-in against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, or even in a first round series against the Phoenix Suns.
Cassidy Hubbarth: Zion with the 360 dunk during his pregame workout. 👀 He is still out indefinitely but is progressing well and is continuing controlled 5 on 5 work.

http://twitter.com/CassidyHubbarth/status/1514390671242801152
"I expect him to play. If you were to ask Zion, I'm sure he would probably say the same thing," Anderson said. "But with just a couple of games left, with the magnitude of what's going on in New Orleans and the opportunity to qualify for the play-in game and possibly get into a seven-game series, that would be off the charts in the city of New Orleans. That would be a plus in New Orleans. That would be a plus for Zion with the way things are right now." "Do I expect him to play? Certainly I do. That's on me, though. That's purely me. I don't think there's anything else that would hinder him from doing that right now."

http://twitter.com/WillGuillory/status/1509963857791315968
Shams Charania: Pelicans’ Zion Williamson traveled with the team to Portland on four-game road trip, sources tell me and @Will Guillory. It’s the first multi-game road trip Williamson has traveled on this season. Steps in right direction as he continues to progress but remains out indefinitely.
Andrew Lopez: Zion Williamson will be on the upcoming four-game road trip as he continues to work with the Pelicans' performance staff, sources confirm. Williamson will continue to work with the staff on the trip as he continues his progression in his rehab.
Christian Clark: Zion was playing Corey Brewer in 1-on-1 after practice. Willie Green said he got cleared to play 1-on-1 today. Green: "We still have to be careful with how much he does. Just because he’s still going though the healing process. But we’re happy that he’s getting better."
Andrew Lopez: Zion Williamson just posted this to his IG story: (And if you’re wondering if it’s recent, he’s wearing his new Zion 2 shoe in it)

https://twitter.com/_Andrew_Lopez/status/1506438357173391362
Sources said Zion Williamson is not expected to return to play this season, but that he is making progress toward on-court work. So far, Williamson has been seen doing stationary shooting and is able to bear weight on his injured foot. New Orleans has 11 regular-season games remaining, which leaves an improbably tight window for Williamson to complete the team’s ramp-up stages ranging from one-on-zero to five-on-five scrimmaging. Williamson returned to New Orleans two weeks ago after rehabbing his fractured foot injury in Portland, and the 21-year-old has been cleared to gradually progress in basketball activities. He has been attending Pelicans home games and has appeared to be in positive spirits around teammates and coaches. Williamson underwent surgery to repair his broken foot last summer and had several return targets delayed this season.
The New Orleans Pelicans post season chances might be getting a boost soon. Recent reports had Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson potentially returning sooner than later. Well, on Friday, Williamson appears to be taking the next step in his recovery from his foot injury. Williamson was seen at practice Friday morning dong some light shooting.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson has returned to the city after spending nearly two months in Portland rehabbing his injured foot away from the team, sources told ESPN on Saturday. Williamson, who fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the summer, is set to rejoin the team next week. Sources told ESPN that Williamson will not travel with the team initially, and with the Pelicans set for a quick two-game road trip to Denver and Memphis, Williamson will be back around the team when it returns to New Orleans.
While he remains out indefinitely, he is now set to take the next step in his rehab process around the team, sources said. Williamson has not progressed to the point where he can even play one-on-0 yet but will work toward that under the supervision of the Pelicans' strength and training staff.
Charania also had an update on Williamson’s outlook for the rest of the 2021-22 season. He doesn’t anticipate the former No. 1 pick playing anytime soon. “I haven’t gotten any sense that Zion Williamson is gonna play this season, and that definitely is alarming,” Charania added.
The Pelicans were intrigued by the possibility of pairing AAU teammates Williamson and Morant together in 2019, sources said. They had the Nos. 1 and 4 picks entering that draft. They offered the Grizzlies multiple packages that included the No. 4 pick. All of their offers were rebuffed.
Williamson was supposed to return to practice in December, but he began experiencing soreness in his right foot. That month, he flew to Los Angeles to have an injection to promote healing. It is possible he will need a second surgery on his right foot, sources said, but nothing has been decided.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The rehab process has moved from New Orleans to Portland, Oregon, and the Pelicans and Zion Williamson agreed on this and work together to get him to Portland and Zion's trying to come back now from a foot fracture. You know, that's included a couple of setbacks in terms of the timeline. But I'm told that the intention, and the expectation remains that Zion Williamson will play this season for the Pelicans. But he's in Portland now. The team is still supervising his regimen there. But he's gotten away from town, and so he'll continue to work there.
While the Pelicans did not announce the location, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Williamson is doing his rehab in Portland, Oregon.
Andrew Lopez: The Pelicans say Zion Williamson has been doing his rehab away from the team. He is still under supervision of the team. Sources say the Pelicans arranged for transportation out of New Orleans for Williamson. Further updates on Zion's status are expected in the next few weeks.
Shams Charania on Zion Williamson: From everything I've been told, the Pelicans do want him to play this season. I think Zion Williamson in his heart of hearts does want to play this year. So you have two parties that clearly want him back on the floor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VALMpt-sIyA
We all know how much Zion has been struggling through this injury. What have you two been telling him throughout this process? Jaxson Hayes: It’s crazy, because everyone’s been trying to fry him. I know he’s trying to ignore all that stuff and do what he has to do. When we’re sitting at the game, people are yelling stuff at him. I just tell him, “Bro, they’re just mad because they’re not in your shoes.” That’s all you can tell him. We all know how much he wants to play. He’s doing all he can to get back right. But there’s nothing we can do until he’s healthy. We just have to be there to support him.

https://twitter.com/ESPNNBA/status/1470507683358912512
The New Orleans Pelicans may need an Excedrin with how many headaches they have been getting from Zion Williamson lately. Pelicans beat writer Jake Madison made troubling revelations this week about Williamson’s work ethic. He said in a tweet that Williamson has skipped workouts in his rehab. Madison also said that the former No. 1 overall pick fell asleep during a recent team film session.
Andrew Lopez: Statement from the New Orleans Pelicans on Zion Williamson: pic.twitter.com/75shXGtlsI

http://twitter.com/_Andrew_Lopez/status/1469772732225228807
Andrew Lopez: Zion Williamson will be dialed back in his rehab process from surgery on his fractured right foot. Williamson's bone has not healed the way the team expected and he will take some time off before proceeding, sources tell ESPN. It's unclear when he will return to the court.
Christian Clark: Zion Williamson will be sidelined indefinitely, sources tell @NOLAnews. He is still experiencing soreness in his right foot. Forward has missed more games (87) than he's played in (85) since the Pels took him No. 1 overall.
Oleh Kosel: Zion Williamson is still receiving treatment and “the Pelicans haven’t progressed him yet,” per Willie Green. As for whether the soreness has dissipated in his right foot: “Somewhat, but there’s still some things he’s dealing with and he’s trying to work through.”

http://twitter.com/_Andrew_Lopez/status/1466829055328665604
Shams Charania: Pelicans’ Zion Williamson experienced a slight delay in his rehab due to soreness in his injured right foot. Team is optimistic it is not serious but will dial back his ramp up in approximately a week.
As Williamson gets closer to making his season debut, he'll join a team that is off to one of the worst starts in franchise history. His return will bring some much-needed stability to the young core, but the Pelicans are looking to follow the 2020-21 Washington Wizards and become just the fourth team since the ABA/NBA merger to make the playoffs after starting 6-17. "We haven't had Z this season. [We're] really waiting for him. We need him," Valanciunas said. "He's gonna be the big piece for us offensively, defensively. The game is gonna change in a good way, big time."
Andrew Lopez: Willie Green says the team is still waiting the specialist to review Zion Williamson’s latest scans. It’s still wait-and-see. Mentioned Williamson has been doing 3-on-3 work. Still waiting clearance to move to full team drills.
The doctors Williamson has been working with had not cleared him to participate in contact drills until Tuesday. But the team has not handled this well from a public relations standpoint. It kept the injury and surgery quiet, sources said, out of respect to Williamson and his preference for privacy. Then instead of announcing a complete timetable, it did incremental updates that made it seem like he was having setbacks whether that was accurate or not. That strategy may have helped with the front office's relationship with the franchise player, but it hurt the team's credibility with its fan base. It has made it challenging to accept subsequent updates at face value.
The Pelicans had a strength and conditioning coach with Williamson in Los Angeles for summer workouts, sources said, so they were aware Williamson was hurt. Perhaps being vague about the timing of the injury -- Griffin has said both "early in the summer" and "before summer league" -- was to honor Williamson's request for privacy. But that did invite speculation of whether the team was in the loop, which is naturally a sensitive topic.
Williamson will undergo further medical imaging on November 24, which will determine his availability for full team workouts. Additional updates will be provided on his anticipated return to play timetable accordingly.
When asked about whether this decision was from Zion’s camp or the Pelicans, Charania clarified that it was a mutual decision between both parties. He also had some worrying details about Zion’s shape and injury. “It’s both doctors… on Zion Williamson’s side, on the Pelicans side. Because I’m told not only the bone isn’t fully healing yet, listen. He needs to be in game shape as well… he’s just not there yet.”
The 21-year-old big owes much to his size and athleticism but there’re two sides to that coin. While it helps him cope with the NBA physicality, it also increases the risk of injury. That said, the most recent video of Zion training before the Pelicans‘ game didn’t make anyone a believer, as he seems to have gained a hefty amount of weight following the surgery and didn’t seem to move lightly and freely. Reportedly, Zion has reached 300 pounds (136 kg).
There's an expectation that Williamson will resume play under a minutes restriction when he does take the floor, sources said, typical for stars returning from injury. But with Williamson, who bristled at the training wheels Pelicans officials placed on his reintegration from a torn meniscus injury as a rookie, it could be a higher-stakes game of poker.
When he joined the Pelicans' recent preseason trip to Minnesota, several league personnel on hand were struck by his heavier appearance than his listed playing weight last season of 284 pounds. "I know Zion at 280, and he was not 280," said one observer. "These are the injuries you have to be the most concerned about, a foot injury for a guy with noted weight issues," said one Western Conference executive.
There's a strong belief in league circles that the Pelicans were unaware of that procedure until Williamson reported to New Orleans ahead of media day, although one team source contacted by B/R maintained the Pelicans and Williamson were aligned on the injury's timeline.
Before Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin addressed reporters last Thursday, word was already circling around the league that Williamson was unlikely to make his 2021-22 debut before November, at the earliest. It was even known in rival front offices that Griffin planned to speak on the matter rather than issue a press release. This all comes after league figures raised a collective eyebrow when Griffin blamed Williamson's season-ending finger injury on poor officiating.
Things only got worse on Monday when first-year coach Willie Green confirmed that his young star, Zion Williamson, hasn’t started running or participating in team activities as he continues rehab from a broken right foot suffered during the offseason. “He’ll have some scans in a day or so. We’ll know more after that,” Green said. “He’s still doing his cardio work. He’s still doing his conditioning. He can do a little on the floor. Hopefully, we can progress soon after that.”
Andrew Lopez: Willie Green says there’s no update on Zion Williamson. Still waiting on results from scans. Meanwhile, Brandon Ingram was a full participant in practice today.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ regular-season opener is a little more than a week away, and star forward Zion Williamson is still a limited participant in practice. Monday, prior to the Pelicans’ preseason finale against the Utah Jazz, coach Willie Green said Williamson will “get some scans in a day or so.” The results of those medical tests will determine if Williamson can become more involved in practice.
“We’ll know more after that,” Green said. “But right now, he’s doing his cardio work, still doing his conditioning. He can do a little on the floor. Then hopefully we can progress soon after that.” Williamson is recovering from a right foot fracture. Williamson hurt his foot working out on his own prior to Summer League, executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said last month.
Zion Williamson (right foot fracture). Recovery: Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin surprised many when he announced at media day that Williamson had offseason surgery for a fractured foot. Williamson was injured participating in on-court offseason work prior to summer league. The injury occurred to Williamson's right foot -- the same leg where he suffered a knee injury that delayed his NBA debut by 13 weeks during his rookie season. Pelicans coach Willie Green said Williamson was able to do walk-throughs during the first week of training camp but is still "progressing." Return: The good news is Griffin said the team is hopeful that Williamson will be ready for opening night. Williamson himself said he expects to play in the first regular-season game as well.
Recovery following surgery can occur in six-to-eight weeks though an 8-to-10-week window is likely a safer estimate. According to the InStreetClothes.com injury database, the average time lost for in-season fifth metatarsal fractures is about 42 games (roughly 10 to 11 weeks). However, the number is considerably smaller for fifth metatarsal fractures sustained in the offseason. These cases missed an average of 15 games with several players active on Opening Night. However, it’s worth mentioning that these individuals were operating under the constraints of a normal offseason, something Williamson will not receive.
However, there may be multiple reasons for optimism surrounding Zion. To start, a 2016 study revealed NBA players to suffer Jones fractures did not display a decrease in performance when they returned to play. Furthermore, Aaron Nelson and the Pelicans medical staff have had a positive impact on player health since joining New Orleans, including last season when they finished in the top 10 for fewest games lost to injury or illness. Nelson also has prior success managing fifth metatarsal fractures.
Oleh Kosel: Zion Williamson says he wasn't able to be around the rest of his teammates much this summer because he was "steadily rehabbing." However, he acknowledges that he and the rest of the players on the roster are brothers so there's no issues whatsoever.
Will Guillory: For the record: Zion is not wearing a walking boot. He says he expects to be ready for the regular season opener.
Eliot Clough: Griff says the team will approach the preseason like training camp, and "I anticipate we'll be ramping up throughout the preseason." Zion's injury is his right foot and his fifth metacarpal.
Andrew Lopez: Just now on NBA Countdown: @Adrian Wojnarowski said he believes the expectation is Zion Williamson is done for the regular season. It's possible he could return if the Pelicans make the play-in or beyond. But this isn't a quick return type injury.
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