Zion Williamson has had a setback in his return to play. While he was scheduled to practice with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, foot soreness prevented him from doing so, as first reported by ESPN’s Andrew Lopez and The Athletic’s Will Guillory.
Williamson had been playing 4-on-4, per ESPN, but, since his foot is sore, the Pelicans will dial back his workload in the short term. He will not be taking any contact in his workouts during their two-game Texas trip this week, per The Athletic, but the team reportedly doesn’t see this as more than a slight delay.
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“It’s a part of the process,” Pelicans coach Willie Green told reporters, via WDSU’s Fletcher Mackel. “When you’re dealing with injuries and you ramp up some, there’s a possibility that you can get a little soreness, which he’s dealing with now.”
Green added that Williamson has been “working his tail off” to come back and is “frustrated,” but understands that he has to “keep getting past these hurdles.” He also stressed that New Orleans is “very optimistic” that the soreness will go away after a few days and will be able to ramp up Williamson’s activity again.
“We don’t want to put our guys on the floor and put their careers at stake or in jeopardy,” Green said. “All of our guys are too important to do something like that, so that’s the diligent work that we’re doing right now.”
Without Williamson, the Pelicans are 6-18 on the season, with the third-worst net rating in the NBA, per Cleaning The Glass. They will visit the Dallas Mavericks on Friday and the Houston Rockets on Sunday, then return to New Orleans to play the Denver Nuggets next Wednesday and the Detroit Pistons next Friday.