New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson has yet to make his return after offseason knee surgery. While Williamson is fine with that, saying he “trusts the organization,” the 19-year-old also revealed a potentially alarming tidbit about his recovery to Andrew Lopez of ESPN.
Williamson said the Pelicans are teaching him to walk and run differently, according to Lopez. They are doing that to improve Williamson’s kinetic chain.
That’s probably not as severe as it sounds. If this was a career-altering injury, Williamson probably wouldn’t be so revealing when discussing his rehab.
This is the medical team addressing an issue, not teaching him how to walk/run for step one.
Pelicans are learning Zion’s ways and trying to make small mechanical fixes.
Completely relearning? No.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) December 26, 2019
Still, Pelicans fans should be concerned to hear that. Big things are expected from Williamson, who the team selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Williamson left Duke after his freshman season, and was one of the most hyped draft prospects in recent memory. Just before the NBA season began, Williamson had knee surgery. He was initially expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
It’s been over eight weeks since Williamson underwent the procedure, and the rookie has yet to make his debut. Williamson, however, is making progress. He is currently able to participate in individual shooting drills and group drills, though he hasn’t done 5-on-5 drills yet.
In order for Williamson to be cleared by the Pelicans, the 19-year-old reportedly has to participate in 2-3 full practices, according to Lopez. The team is hoping that can happen just after the new year.
The Pelicans have struggled without Williamson. The team is just 9-23, and sits in 14th in the Western Conference. Williamson won’t be expected to fix the Pelicans’ record immediately, but he will make the team watchable.