WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Following an arthroscopic surgery to address a torn right lateral meniscus in his right knee, New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will be sidelined for an estimated 8-week recovery period.
- According to an announcement from the New Orleans Pelicans, the star rookie is expected to be available by December when the team visits the Denver Nuggets.
- Williamson is widely considered to win the 2020 Rookie of the Year Award.
Regarded as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA draft, will be out of the game from six to eight weeks following arthroscopic surgery on a torn right lateral meniscus, New Orleans Pelicans announced Monday afternoon.
As the Pelicans are set to begin their much-awaited 2019-20 schedule against defending champion Toronto Raptors in Canada on Tuesday, Williamson is expected to be sidelined for about a quarter to a third of the season. Based on his recovery timeline, he is projected to be available when the Pelicans visit the Denver Nuggets in December.
Citing knee soreness, the Pelicans elected on Thursday night to keep the star rookie from playing against the New York Knicks during the preseason finale on Friday. Even with initial reports by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Williamson would miss a “period of weeks”, the latest issue sounded a little more distressing.
In Summer League, the 19-year-old NBA rookie had missed all games except for one, because of a bruised left knee. At the time, David Griffin, the Pelicans executive vice president said that an “abundance of caution” was the reason for ruling him out. However, the new problem this time involves the other knee — the one that caused him to suffer a sprain and miss out a part of his freshman season at Duke.
Prior to the injury announcement, the 285-pound former Duke star averaged 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in four preseason games while shooting 71.4 percent from the field. In his most recent preseason game, he led the Pelicans with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. He electrified fans by opening his NBA career with two of his famous dunks.
Last week, Williamson told Liz Roscher of Yahoo Sports that his focus is more on the team, saying, “To win a championship and have an impact on the team — that would be my dream rookie season.”
Meanwhile, a week from Friday, New Orleans opens its home schedule against the Dallas Mavericks. Thanks to Williamson, the team is now in the top half of the NBA in terms of total sales after selling more season tickets than it has in the past decade.