This has left many Pelicans fans worried about the long-term future for the 21-year-old star, who put up an impressive 27 points per game in just his second season in the NBA, earning himself an All-Star appearance in 2020.
The team initially thought that he would be back before the season even started, but reports came out last month that he may need a second surgery on his foot, which put a return in 2021 in serious doubt.
Shams Charania reported Monday that Williamson is not expected to return for the Pelicans this season while he continues to recover from his offseason surgery.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 21, 2022
The star forward returned to basketball activities this month in the hopes to return this season, but it now appears that he will not be able to ramp up his recovery process in time to return this year.
This news has many Pelicans fans clearly disappointed that were excited at the possibility of a return, with many putting into question his drive for the game and even putting him in the “bust” category.
He either a bust or trying to force his way out. It’s annoying https://t.co/Goze1B2cKo
— Brandy (@POLO_PrOtotype) March 21, 2022
Not expected to return to the court in a Pelicans jersey period. https://t.co/ULfysAM6p1
— Austin Kemker (@Austin_Kemker) March 21, 2022
Zion Williamson’s situation is a vicious cycle. He gets hurt, adds weight, gets hurt again.
He is already abnormally large for a player of his height so he is more prone to injury.
When he can’t play basketball he puts on more weight which makes him even more injury prone. https://t.co/xJarjp4jlq
— Evan (@ebruner23) March 21, 2022
Per @ShamsCharania, Zion Williamson is not expected to return for the rest of the season.
Zion has been doing stationary drills, but nothing more than that. There are 11 games left in the regular season.
— George Hathaway (@hathawaygeorge9) March 21, 2022
While it may be way too early to label Williamson as a bust, it doesn’t help that he will always be compared to Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant after being selected over him in the 2019 NBA Draft. Morant is having an MVP-caliber season on the Grizzlies while Williamson has only played in 85 games through three seasons.
At his best, Williamson is a dominant force unlike any player that we’ve seen in quite some time. However, there are certainly some questions that he will need to answer in the 2022-2023 NBA season if he wants to be recognized as a top player in the league.