Pelicans star Zion Williamson missed the entire 2021-22 campaign, and many fans still aren't sure why. Without him, the Pels failed to get past the first round and lost in 6 to a dominant Phoenix team.
But fans got a dose of good news this week after news of Zion's most recent status hit social media. According to a statement made by the organization itself, the former Duke star has been cleared to play with no restrictions:
Recent imaging of Williamson’s right fifth metatarsal showed continued improvement.
Williamson has been cleared in his return to play progression without any restrictions.
Williamson was drafted first overall in 2019 and averaged 22.5 points per game in his rookie campaign. Since then, his career has been riddled with injuries and there were doubts that he even wanted to play for the Pelicans.
Back in April, Zion put those rumors to bed once and for all:
“It helped a lot, just to come back and feel the allure of this place and just be around my teammates,” Williamson said. “Being around my teammates was the biggest mental change for me. At first I was in a mental bad space, but when I got around the fellas, it’s always good vibes with them."
“Being real, it sucks watching from the sideline. I just want to be out there. But just seeing the potential, we’ve got a lot of great pieces. I’m excited to get on the court with those guys.”
“From a physical standpoint, I definitely could have played (this spring),” he said. “But me and my team and the front office and the (Pelicans), we decided longevity was better than trying to rush back.”
Now that he's healthy and ready to play to his full capabilities, Williamson can work on maximizing his game and building chemistry with his teammates. Next season, with Zion fully healthy, there's a chance that New Orleans could become a real threat to make a long playoff run.
Either way, there is reason to be optimistic about the future in New Orleans.