New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said on Tuesday that he feels physically well and “if I feel like Zion” will return to court recognizing the mental hurdle of resuming the team while it starts a postseason run.
Williamson, who’s been going since the 2nd. January recovered and recovered from a right hamstring, spoke Wednesday before the Pelicans’ play-in match with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It was frustrating,” Williamson said. “I don’t want to lie to you. It was very frustrating. Not being able to play is painful. But I mean, things have gotten better. Things have gotten a lot better.”
When Williamson was asked how close he felt to playing, he said, “Physically, I’m good, now it’s just about when I feel like Zion. I know the atmosphere I would enter based on the playoff experience. Now it’s just about when I feel like Zion.”
“I don’t feel like there are any specific parameters for being Zion,” Williamson said. “It’s just a matter of, as you know, when I feel like me. Just feeling like me and knowing that I can go and have a big impact on my team.”
Williamson said it would be a “collective decision” about when he’s ready to play.
It was a miserable time for Williamson and whoever invested in him. The former world championship played well enough to earn an All-Star start this year, but then fell with a ring injury on January 2.
Since then, it has been a slogan of delays. The Pelicans initially said it would be reevaluated in three weeks, but then it took a month to say it would be reevaluated after the All-Star break. Less than a week later, he was pronounced for several weeks after aggravating the injury, and was given another two weeks the following month.
Finally, the Pelicans said that Williamson had returned to court on 22 March, but that he would stay out for another two weeks. There was still hope that he could play again in time for the play-in tournament, but the ship left two weeks later.
No one has upset Williamson’s trial any more:
“That’s a bad thing is bad. I don’t know how else to say it. The s*** is a panacea. I like this game. I say it over and over again. For those who think they want to sit on the sidelines, just sit here, I don’t know why people think that. No, that’s too bad. I just want to play basketball. Actually.”
If the pelicans can’t get out of the tournament, Williamson will abstain from 114 regular season games and zero postseason games played in four seasons since it was drafted. Even with all the above frustrations, his 29 games played this year are the second highest total of his career.
That wouldn’t be what the Pelicans hoped for when they handed him over as a very hypocritical prospect, and it’s certainly not what they want to see once he starts playing his five-year extension, $193 million.