Zion Williamson Out For Pelicans’ Play-In Game vs. Kings

It will be an uphill climb for the New Orleans Pelicans to get to the NBA playoffs. That was already the case after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening play-in game.Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA

Now, the Pelicans will have to face the Sacramento Kings on Friday without Zion Williamson, who is out with a hamstring injury, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Should the Pelicans win, and lock up the No. 8 seed, Williamson could potentially still be out for the playoffs — as Wojnarowski reported he will be re-evaluated “in the coming weeks.”

That doesn’t sound like someone who will be ready to go by Sunday, which is when New Orleans would begin the playoffs (at the Oklahoma City Thunder) should it get past the Kings.

Along with that, Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote that Williamson’s injury will keep him out for at least two weeks. Charania reported that Williamson suffered a hamstring strain.

Williamson finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and five assists — and had just tied the score at 95-95 with 3:13 left in the game when he was forced to exit. Visibly frustrated, he threw a towel as he made his way to the locker room.

Per Andrew Lopez of ESPN, Williamson didn’t appear to have a limp as he left the arena. Nor was he sporting any wraps, Lopez added.

Either way, the Pelicans have lost six straight at home and will be facing a fired-p Kings team that just knocked off the Golden State Warriors in a play-in game of their own.

Williamson appeared in a career-high 71 games this season, compiling averages of 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 57.0 % from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc and 70.2% from the free-throw line. 

According to NBA insider Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Williamson has lost 25 pounds since December. 

“I’ve got people in New Orleans telling me that since December, when the In-Season Tournament happened, that Zion Williamson has lost 25 or more pounds and his performance has been excellent,” Windhorst said. “He’s playing fewer minutes and I think that helps as well, but I’ve got people telling me he’s lost 25 pounds.”

Williamson has been playing at a high level ever since New Orleans lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on December 7 in Las Vegas during the In-Season Tournament.

During an interview with NBA reporter William Guillory of The Athletic, Williamson said “people don’t understand” how much he loves basketball. 

“People don’t understand how much I really love this s—,” Williamson said. “I pour everything into doing my best for the team and for the people who support me in New Orleans. I get it. You can only go off the information that’s in front of you. But that’s the great thing about the opportunity we have the rest of the way. We get to write our own story.”

The Pelicans signed Williamson to a five-year, $197 million extension in July 2022.

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