Zion Williamson ruled out for final Pelicans preseason game with knee soreness

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

The Zion Williamson show is coming to an early end in preseason. Hopefully, that doesn’t delay its regular season premiere.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced Thursday that Williamson has been ruled out with right knee soreness for the team’s final preseason game against the New York Knicks on Friday. The No. 1 overall pick will also be undergoing further evaluation while the team is away.

The team’s statement:

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is listed as out with right knee soreness for the team’s final preseason game against the Knicks. He did not travel with the team to New York today and remained in New Orleans to undergo further testing and evaluation at Ochsner Sports Medicine.

Further updates will be forthcoming when available.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later reported that the Pelicans are being cautious with Williamson’s injury, and that this isn’t a typical preseason rest situation.

A knee issue popping up is particularly concerning for Williamson because he also missed all but one Summer League due to a bruised left knee. Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin said at the time that the decision was made with “an abundance of caution.” This new knee soreness is in the other knee, but multiple issues popping up for the 284-pound Williamson is troublesome nonetheless.

Zion Williamson’s incredible preseason comes to an end

Before the knee soreness news, it had been full speed ahead for the Zion Williamson hype train this preseason.

Williamson averaged 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting an absurd 71.4 percent from the field. One analysis from The Ringer found that scoring average to be the best preseason mark for a rookie since David Robertson, who was 24 at the time, averaged 24.9 points in 1989. Even when adjusting for Williamson’s paint-heavy shot chart with true shooting percent — which properly values 3-point and free throw shooting — he looks like an unprecedented talent.

Now, you might ask if Williamson has been doing this against legit NBA talent or some preseason scrubs. I will subsequently direct you to the date of Oct. 11, in which Williamson posted 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting with two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert patrolling the paint.

Even against the most dominant paint defender in the game today, Williamson could not be stopped.

The Pelicans are five days away from their season opener against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, which will be broadcast on TNT. Hopefully, Williamson will be ready to go by then.

Zion Williamson had looked like a force of nature in his first preseason campaign with the Pelicans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Zion Williamson had looked like a force of nature in his first preseason campaign with the Pelicans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

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