Just prior to the start of the NBA regular season we got the news that Zion Williamson had suffered a right knee injury and underwent surgery. While the reports suggested it wasn’t a ‘severe’ injury and that he would miss just a handful of weeks to start the season, he’s missed the first 32 games and counting for the Pelicans.
New Orleans is taking its time and being cautious with the No. 1 overall pick and certainly not looking to rush him back on the court. Now, it’s being reported that he’s even being taught how to walk and run differently.
According to ESPN’s Jorge Sedano, the team is “trying to re-teach him how to walk and run differently — working on the kinetic chain of his body.”
Sedano also reported that Williamson has taken part in individual shooting drills and group drills, but he hasn’t yet played 3-on-3 or 5-on-5.
With the fact the organization is teaching him new ways to walk and run and seeing as how he hasn’t taken the court in a full-go situation in 3-on-3 it doesn’t sound as if his NBA debut is fast-approaching.
After the Pelicans have finished a shootaround or practice in the past week, Williamson has stayed back with a group of coaches and staffers and worked for anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes, walking through plays and running up and down the court.
David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, has said Williamson has to pass preseason conditioning tests before he’s cleared to make his debut.
A source within the organization told ESPN that before Williamson makes his on-court return, the team would like him to undergo at least two or three practices doing full work. A source told Sedano the team is targeting just after the new year for those practices.
While we’re just over the 30-game mark in the NBA and with the Pelicans sitting at just 9-23 on the year, they’re in a unique situation as to try to push Williamson back as quickly as possible or essentially forget about this season, take their time and push for another top pick at next year’s NBA Draft.