Zion Williamson: Postseason Return Is “Absolutely Realistic”

Speaking to reporters today for the first time since suffering a left hamstring strain in last Tuesday’s play-in game vs. the Lakers, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said that he believes he has a chance to return to action this spring, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. Williamson added that he has to “pass certain tests” in order to ramp up his basketball activity.

“That is definitely realistic,” Williamson said of playing in the postseason. “That is absolutely realistic. Like I said, I have to pass tests. Get back to baseline. Hopefully, I will be out there.”

When the Pelicans first announced Williamson’s injury last Wednesday, they said he would be reevaluated in approximately two weeks.

The Pelicans are already facing a 1-0 hole in their series against the Thunder and will play three more games before that two-week checkpoint arrives. That means Zion will likely have to count on his teammates to win at least a game or two to extend New Orleans’ season in order for him to have a chance to return.

Although Williamson admitted that the hamstring strain was “super demoralizing,” he stressed that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the right hamstring injury he sustained last season. He suffered a setback during the recovery from that injury, which ended up costing him the final 45 games of the 2022/23 campaign.

“I knew something happened,” Williamson said of last Tuesday’s injury. “It didn’t feel nothing (compared) to how it did on the right side last year. The right side was definitely sharper pain. This one didn’t really feel like that. It just felt like, ‘Something is off right now.'”

The former No. 1 overall pick had the healthiest season of his professional career in 2023/24, starting 70 regular season games and averaging 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 31.5 minutes per night. It was just the second time in five NBA seasons that he had appeared in more than 29 contests.

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