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Report: Pelicans concealed Zion Williamson’s injury due to his desire for privacy

Pelicans star Zion Williamson

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 19: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans warms up prior to the game against the LA Clippers on November 19, 2021 at the 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 the 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 broke his foot at some point before Aug. 8….

…Pelicans lead executive David Griffin revealed Sept. 27.

Why did New Orleans wait so long to disclose the injury?

Brian Windhorst and Andrew Lopez of ESPN:

It kept the injury and surgery quiet, sources said, out of respect to Williamson and his preference for privacy.

It’s completely understandable Williamson would want to keep his medical information private. Not only is that a reasonable desire for anyone, his health status has drawn particular scrutiny.

It’s also completely understandable the Pelicans would honor the desire of their franchise player. Teams often enable their stars. New Orleans’ handling of his injuries was already a touchy subject. Plus, the Pelicans must be wary of Williamson leaving.

But New Orleans plays in a league touting its transparency while openly courting gambling money. Whether or not they violated injury-reporting rules – no fine was announced, as has been done in other cases – the Pelicans flew against in the spirit of openness the NBA claims to promote.

This also hurts the credibility of Pelicans lead executive David Griffin. It’s easy to draw a connection between New Orleans not announcing the injury and Griffin matching Williamson’s media-day statement that Williamson will return by the the regular season. As Williamson still remains sidelined, Griffin’s attempt to “clarify” that he merely meant at some point during the regular season is ludicrous.

Meanwhile, Williamson avoids the spotlight. He hasn’t spoken to the media all season. If he can get away with the Pelicans shielding him, more power to him, I guess.

Yet, this has also arguably backfired for him. His confounding absence raises suspicion of a setback and puts even more attention on his weight.