Zion Williamson Optimistic About Quick Return from Hamstring Injury as Pelicans Trail Thunder in Playoffs

Zion Williamson optimistic about quick return from hamstring injury, aiming to boost Pelicans' playoff chances against Thunder.

Salman Khan
Updated On
New Update
Zion Williamson Optimistic About Quick Return from Hamstring Injury as Pelicans Trail Thunder in Playoffs

Zion Williamson Optimistic About Quick Return from Hamstring Injury as Pelicans Trail Thunder in Playoffs

New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson expressed optimism about a quick return from the left hamstring strain he suffered during the team's play-in tournament loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Williamson said there is a "realistic" chance he could return during the Pelicans' first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which the Pelicans currently trail 1-0.

The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of the play-in game against the Lakers, when Williamson scored 40 points but had to leave after grimacing and motioning to be taken out. He described the injury as "super demoralizing at first" but said this hamstring strain is not as severe as the one he suffered last season, which limited him to just 29 games.

Williamson must pass certain physical tests and get back to baseline before being cleared to return to action. The Pelicans initially announced that he will be re-evaluated in approximately two weeks, potentially allowing him to return around Game 5 of the series on May 1. Williamson said watching his teammates lose Game 1 to the Thunder 94-92 without him was difficult.

"It was bittersweet. I'm happy to see my teammates out there fighting, but I just kept thinking to myself, 'I wish I was out there,'" Williamson said. "I mean, my teammates did a great job. I just wish I was out there helping them."

Why this matters: Williamson's potential return could be a major boost for the Pelicans as they look to bounce back against the top-seeded Thunder. The All-Star forward is a dominant force when healthy and would significantly improve New Orleans' chances of making it a competitive series.

Williamson played a career-high 70 games this season and was determined to be available for the playoffs after missing the Pelicans' postseason run last year. He averaged 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 60.8% from the field.

"It's been a goal of mine to be out there with my teammates at the end of the season when it matters most," Williamson said. "To have this be the third season in a row where I'm dealing with something like this, it's frustrating. But I'm focused on getting back out there and helping my team."

The Pelicans will need to find ways to generate offense and slow down the Thunder's attack in Williamson's absence. Brandon Ingram, who had 30 points in Game 1, will be relied upon heavily as the team's primary scoring option. Game 2 of the series is set for Wednesday in Oklahoma City, with the Pelicans hoping to even the series before returning home for Games 3 and 4.

Key Takeaways

  • Zion Williamson optimistic about the quick return from a hamstring injury during playoffs
  • Injury occurred in play-in game vs Lakers, not as severe as previous hamstring strain
  • A potential return around Game 5 on May 1, could be a major boost for Pelicans
  • Williamson averaged 26 pts, 7 rebs, 4.6 asts per game this season on 60.8% shooting
  • The pelicans need to find ways to generate offense, slow down Thunder without Williamson