They were able to turn it around in a big way, making it into the NBA play-in tournament.
The team is now getting ready for their matchup on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, and will seemingly have a very good opportunity to win the do-or-die game with Clippers star guard Paul George being ruled out for the game after testing positive for COVID-19.
If the Pelicans were to lose, one would certainly have to believe the outcome may be different if star forward Zion Williamson were on the court for the team.
Williamson has yet to play for the Pelicans this season after multiple setbacks from offseason surgery on his right foot.
It seems that the Pelicans want to take the long-term approach when it comes to Zion’s recovery, and it is expected that he will not return this season.
Meanwhile Zion’s stepfather, Lee Anderson said earlier this month that he expected Zion to play at some point this season, likely meaning that Zion has said to him that he feels good enough to play soon.
Reports have come out on Friday that the Pelicans and Williamson do not agree about the severity of his injury, with the Pelicans training staff maintaining that the bone in Williamson’s foot has not healed enough yet to return this season.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 15, 2022
There have already been rumors that Zion doesn’t love New Orleans and that he may want out when the opportunity presents it, and many around the NBA world believe that this situation may not help matters.
He’s gonna be out of there the first chance he gets https://t.co/NE4sBLW8gi
— Raijon (@RTKapproved) April 15, 2022
Pelicans: We don’t feel Zion is healthy enough.
— ⚜️ (@RobbBeaux) April 15, 2022
He wants to play, he feels he’s healthy enough. organization is shutting him down to not take the risk.
I get both sides. But if we win this game & go play the suns. I think the matchup would be in our favor. https://t.co/MdWAIXoDT7
— 🦅 Dorian (@nd0rian) April 15, 2022
Healthy enough to do 10/10 NBA Dunk Contest slams in every pregame but not participate in the playoffs https://t.co/PYautLnQct
— Joe Seleski (@joeseleski) April 15, 2022
While many are upset that they likely won’t see Williamson this year, it is in the best interest of the organization long term if they believe he isn’t ready not to rush him back this season
He has been injury-prone to this point in his NBA career, and rushing him back could spell disaster for such a young player that has been on the court as infrequently as Williamson.