The New Orleans Pelicans announced that star forward Zion Williamson will not suit up for them for quite some time because he is dealing with a strained hamstring.
The team said Williamson will be closed for three weeks before being re-evaluated.
Williamson was injured Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Duke product seemed to sense something as the Pelicans wriggled away from a missed jumper by Joel Embiid.
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Williamson caught the rebound from the miss, and by the time it crossed half court, it was clear something was off. He gave the ball to Dyson Daniels and grabbed his leg.
Jonas Valanciunas ended up intentionally fouling 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey so Williamson could be sidelined for the game late in the third quarter. He never came back.
Williamson underwent an MRI on Tuesday and the Pelicans learned the severity of the injury.
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This isn’t the first time Williamson has been sidelined this season. He missed two games in October with a bruised lower back and right hip after falling to the ground against the Utah Jazz.
In November, the 2019 first overall pick had to miss three games with a bruised right foot. Houston Rockets center Usman Garuba stepped on Williamson’s foot during a game as Williamson was driving to the basket.
Williamson also missed three games due to health and safety protocols, bringing his total to eight games missed this season.
Injuries have been a problem for Williamson throughout his career. He missed all of last season with a foot injury. The Pelicans expected to see Williamson improve in his third season after earning his first career All-Star appearance in 2020-21 as he averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
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Williamson is having a good season, averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He is also shooting 60.8% from the field.
With Williamson out, the Pelicans will have to lean even more on CJ McCollum to score. Forward Brandon Ingram has also been dealing with a left toe injury and has not played since Nov. 25. Ingram has been practicing but not quite.
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Williamson’s absence likely means more time for Naji Marshall, who has averaged 8.8 points in nine games.