Zion Williamson injury update opens door for playoff return

Apr 19, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) talks
Apr 19, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) talks / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans dropped Sunday night's first round playoff game to the Oklahoma City Thunder 94-92. New Orleans scrapped on defense, slowed the pace, and limited an explosive Thunder offense in a nail-biting playoff classic. The Pelicans dominated on the glass, more than doubling the offensive rebound output of the Thunder.

The Pelicans played well, but they lacked an offensive threat to soften the Thunder interior defense. Lu Dort was able to lock down Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum failed to make an impact scoring 22 points on 2/9 from three and 9/22 from the field.

New Orleans desperately needed Zion Williamson. When the push notification from Adrian Wojnarowski came through that the Pelicans superstar would be out for at least two weeks, hearts sank across the bayou. He missed the team's Play-In Tournament vitctory over the Sacramento Kings that clinched a playoff berth for the Pelicans, and Williamson sat out Sunday night's game one in Oklahoma City.

During the broadcast, sideline reporter Stephanie Ready gave an update on Zion's health straight from the lips of executive vice president of basketball operations for the Pelicans David Griffin.

""As everyone knows Zion Williamson is out. And he's out with a left hamstring strain. Well, David Griffin told me that the performance team has a plan in place, but it's not something that we'll likely see developing in view of the public eye. He said that Zion is doing everything that the medical team asks of him, and that his diligence with performance is unrecognizable from earlier. Remember guys, he's being re-evaluated in about two weeks, which puts that date around May 1st. And then from that point, they'll have to see where he is.""

Any potential return for Zion would be a massive win for the Pelicans. If Zion gets cleared to play after the May 1st check-in, he could potentially turn for that night's game five in Oklahoma City if the Pelicans extend the series that long.

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