The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to allow star forward Zion Williamson to continue his rehabilitation from a broken foot away from team headquarters.
Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said Wednesday that the club agreed that “in order to put Zion in the best position to succeed, he will rehab away from the team at this time so he can focus on the task at hand.”
Williamson, who averaged a team-high 27 points and was an All-Star last season, was trying to return to practice in mid-December from an injury that occurred during the summer. But imaging of his foot revealed a setback and the club said at that time that Williamson would cease practicing and focus on healing.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 27: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans speaks to members of the media during Media Day at Smoothie King Center on September 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
“As you can imagine, this has been a very difficult process for me,” Williamson said in a written statement released by the club. “I know there’s work to be done in my recovery before I can safely return to the court, but I will continue to put in the time necessary so I can get back on the floor with my team and represent Pelicans fans and the city of New Orleans at the highest level.
“Basketball means everything to me,” Williamson added, “and I am thankful for the Pelicans organization and everyone who has surrounded me with love and support throughout this journey – my family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans, and everybody who has stood behind me and uplifted me when I needed it most.”
The Pelicans have gone 13-25 without Williamson this season, but are just 2 1/2 games behind Sacramento for the final Western Conference play-in spot with just more than half the season remaining.
The Pelicans play next on Thursday night when they host Golden State.