Zion Williamson is expected to miss several weeks after the All-Star break with a hamstring strain, New Orleans Pelicans vice president David Griffin told reporters Sunday. Williamson has been sidelined with a hamstring strain since January and was expected to be re-evaluated during the All-Star break. However, it appears his return will be a little bit further down the line after aggravating it.
Williamson was named an All-Star starter for the Feb. 19 game due to his performance prior to the injury. But given he won't be available to participate, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Domantas Sabonis will fill the starting role in the frontcourt in place of the Pelicans forward.
Williamson suffered a right hamstring strain during a Jan. 2 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been out ever since, and the Pelicans have struggled to stay afloat without him. They are 6-14 since he went down, and that includes a 10-game losing streak that they recently snapped.
Fortunately for the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram recently returned to the lineup and moved back above .500 at 29-28. They currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference.
Williamson was having a stellar season for the Pelicans before he went down. He was averaging 26 points per game and a career-high 4.6 assists for a Pelicans team that, at one point, held the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. With Ingram having emerged as a legitimate secondary star and C.J. McCollum onboard after last season's trade deadline, the healthy Pelicans were positioned to compete for a championship as soon as this season.
They still might, but the longer Williamson remains sidelined, the more precarious their situation appears. He missed all of last season and most of his rookie season due to injuries, and durability will likely remain a serious concern for the rest of Williamson's career. He is one of the NBA's most explosive scorers, but given his body type and explosiveness, the Pelicans are going to have to work hard to keep him on the floor.