One of the NBA’s most impressive up-and-comers will have to miss some time. But how much time will he miss, and will he be 100% healthy?
Witnessing A Superstar
On Tuesday, one of the league’s NBA superstars, Zion Williamson, got the news that he would be out for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain. In a Monday Night loss, Williamson was injured late in the third quarter against the 76ers. All it took was Zion Williamson pushing the ball up the floor after a rebound. He crossed half court and immediately let up on his right leg and proceeded to hold it.
Zion Williamson’s NBA career got off to a rocky start, playing in only 24 games his rookie year and following up his third year by not playing. However, he has already been selected as an All-Star in his second year when he averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Zion is averaging an incredible 26 points, seven rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game while shooting an astounding 60.8% a game this year.
Given this injury, there are a few things to consider. First, this is a hamstring injury; unfortunately, hamstring injuries have a re-injury rate of around 22-34% in athletes. The timeframe is at least three weeks; the Pelicans have said Zion will be reevaluated in three weeks. However, it can still be longer.
Luckily, the MRI shows it is only a grade one hamstring sprain. Grade one sprains typically have a minimum of three weeks. But, if the Pelicans reevaluate and decide to sit him out longer, this injury could take five to six weeks to return.
The Pelicans Without Zion
The Pelicans currently sit as the third-best team in the Western Conference. However, Zion Williamson has the 15th-highest usage rate in the NBA and has comparable usage rates to guys like; Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Donovan Mitchell. Because of his high usage rate, the Pelicans will struggle a bit while he is out.
Zion has already missed a few games this NBA season. A more impressive stat for the New Orleans Pelicans is that they are 6-2 when Zion Williamson is out. In those eight games Zion was out, the Pelicans played five current playoff teams, so going 6-2 is very impressive given their schedule. While Zion is out, the Pelicans do have a demanding schedule. It would be awe-inspiring if the Pelicans could come out of this with an even record without Zion.
Unfortunately, the Pelicans will find themselves in trouble with Zion being out. They have proven before they can compete with him, though. Brandon Ingram must stay healthy during this stretch to keep their head above water and a high seed in the Western Conference. Expect to see Zion Williamson in the starting lineup in three to five weeks.