Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Pelicans reportedly retraining Zion Williamson to walk, run differently

Zion Williamson

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 23: A close up shot of Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on December 23, 2019 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

New Orleans is taking its time with Zion Williamson’s return from injury — he’s doing shooting drills and some on-court work, but no 3-on-3 yet — because they want to prevent the next one.

Of course, that means making sure his surgically repaired is fully healed and the muscles around the joint strengthened before the No. 1 pick is let back on the court.

However, it also means re-training how he moves to lessen the likelihood of future injuries, reports Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Williamson told [ESPNM’s Jorge] Sedano that he “trusts the organization” in its decision-making, and he said his rehab process has been about more than just the recovery from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee.

Williamson, 19, said the Pelicans are also trying to tweak small matters in how he walks and runs, working on the kinetic chain of his body.

This is common across professional sports now. How a player walks and runs — pushing his (or her) leg forward with the core and gluteus vs. just kind of throwing the leg forward — can impact how likely a player is to get injured. Ankle flexibility can impact the knee. Everything is connected. The idea is not just to strengthen one muscle, but to strengthen a connected series of muscles and teach the player how to use those muscles to reduce the likelihood of future injury.

Williamson is as explosive an athlete as we have seen, and players like that can be more suspectable to injury because of the force and torque on bones and joints. What the Pelicans are doing here is the smart move — this is a franchise player, take the steps now to potentially reduce future injuries.

What not to do is whatever Charles Barkley is telling you, but that doesn’t make it any less hysterical.