New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson spoke to media members on Thursday for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus prior to the season's start. Williamson said that his rehab was going well, but he also preached patience when it comes to his return to action.
"[The rehab] is going very well. Day by day, its getting better and I think it's going very well," Williamson said, via the NBA. "I do feel like it's getting stronger day by day. The trainers and stuff are telling me day by day it's getting stronger and I can feel the difference each day. ... "It's kind of ... it's a long season. This isn't like college or something where it's 30 games. It's 82 games, so I don't really see a need to rush back.
"When they feel like I'm back to myself, they'll let me play. Simple as that. ... I'm just rehabbing man."
Though Williamson was, of course, initially disappointed that he had to start his rookie season on the sideline, he has moved on. Now, he's focused on getting stronger, and then getting back out on the court to help his teammates, though there's still no timetable for his return to action.
"It hurt at first," Williamson said. "But I'm not out forever so my mindset is just come back stronger, come back better so I can help my team. ... It's just kind of 'Alright, let's go in, let's get it done and start the recovery process.' I'm just kind of taking it day by day. I think when I'm ready -- there's no real timetable -- when I'm ready, I'll come back."
Without Williamson, the Pelicans have quickly sunk to the bottom of the Western Conference standings with a 1-6 record through seven games. Despite the slow start, Williamson doesn't think it's panic time in New Orleans.
"I don't think people should panic at all. We're only six games in ... it's a matter of, it's a long season," Williamson said. "If you ask me that question again halfway through the season, I'll be able to give you a more detailed answer. For now, we're six games in out of 82. There's no need to panic."
Williamson was initially given a 6-8 week window for a potential return to action, which would see him back out in the court some time in December. Based on his comments, it sounds like he is on track to make that happen.