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Pelicans: Zion Williamson out several more weeks

Pelicans star Zion Williamson

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 29: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans looks on in the game against the Sacramento Kings on October 29, 2021 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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 Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Zion Williamson, who suffered an offseason foot injury, said he’d return for the Pelicans’ first regular-season game and lead them into the playoffs.

He remains sidelined. New Orleans is an NBA-worst 1-6.

And Williamson isn’t coming to the rescue soon.

Will Guillory of The Athletic:

If it’ll be 2-3 before Williamson might get cleared to fully participate in practice, it’ll be a while until he actually plays. By then, New Orleans might have fallen too far behind in the postseason race.

This situation looks especially bad because of the messaging. Not only did Williamson say he’d return for the regular-season opener, Pelicans lead executive David Griffin said, “His timeline should get him back on the court in time for regular season.” Griffin’s “clarification” that he meant only that Williamson would return sometime during the regular season continues to look ludicrous.

Williamson’s return from prior injury was a source of tension before. With reason to believe Williamson might want to leave the Pelicans, this situation warrants close monitoring.

Still, despite the league watching, numerous questions remain. Is Williamson in shape? Was the initial timeline misguided? Did he have a setback?

If Williamson fully practices in a few weeks then returns to games shortly after, everyone will move on for a bit. But after the Pelicans’ previous updates, there’s an element of “have to see it to believe it” with this timeline.