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Zion Williamson Won’t Start Season for Pelicans

Once again, one of the league’s brightest young stars is sidelined.

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

For the second time in his three-year NBA career, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson won’t be suited up to play in the Pelicans’ regular season opener. Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Thursday that Williamson will miss the start of the 2021-22 NBA regular season because of a right foot injury.

Griffin said Williamson — who underwent surgery on his foot earlier this offseason — will be reevaluated in “two to 2½ weeks,” but for now there is no “fixed timeline” for his return. The announcement comes less than a month after Griffin had said at Pelicans Media Day Sept. 27 that Williamson’s “timeline should get him back on the court in time for regular season.” However, Griffin clarified Thursday that his comment at Media Day meant Williamson would be able to return at some point during the regular season — not necessarily opening night.

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, also missed the start of his rookie campaign in the 2019-20 season with a torn meniscus that sidelined him for 44 games and pushed his NBA debut back to January 2020. Last season, in which Williamson made his first NBA All-Star team at age 20, he sat out the last six games of the regular season with a thumb injury.