Even though Zion Williamson is reported to be healing as expected, the Pelicans star is nowhere near a return as his team announced yesterday he will be re-evaluated again in two weeks. The New Orleans No.1 has been out since January 4th due to a right hamstring strain.
Injuries have been tough for the young 22-year old, as he missed all of last season for the same reason. However, he came back as strong as ever for this campaign with All-Star stats, having averaged 26 points and a career-high 4.6 assists per game in his first 29 matches so far, shooting over 60% from the floor.
Believe it or not, Williamson has missed 59.6% of his total career games due to medical issues, as seen in this Twitter post below:
Zion Williamson has seen too much of the bench in his young NBA career.
Who thinks he can shake off these injuries moving forward? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Zjs4kJYoUk
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 25, 2023
Back when he was in shape, he led the Pelicans to the Western Conference’s first place at one point, a unique experience for the New Orleans team. Now they fell down to the 4th position, but aren’t too far behind the Sacramento Kings. Just three weeks ago, he scored his all-time best score in a single NBA match against the same team they’ll face tonight, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Here are some of his highlights from his career-high 43 point game:
Let’s recap on how coach Willie Green’s team has put up without their key player. In the beginning of the season, during Williamson’s first injury, the Pelicans actually won five out of six games. However, in his latest absence the team won three out of six, up until their teammate Brandon Ingram also fell to injury and the team has now lost their last four NBA encounters.
The good news for the Pelicans is Ingram is finally ready to return for tonight’s game against the Timberwolves, after missing 28 consecutive matches for his team due to a right toe contusion. Watch the foward talk about his return in the following video:
The Pelicans have practically never had their full roster on the floor at the same time. Williamson missed last season. Ingram has missed most of this season.
New Orleans have become heavily dependant on C.J. McCollum who is new to the squad, having just signed a contract with the team last year and does not seem to have developed the leadership that’s expected of him. Yes, the Pelicans began the campaign as title contenders as they performed with a healthy roster, but still have much to prove with at least 35 more games of regular season yet to play.
A few of our favorite sport betting sites believe New Orleans to possess the 8th best odds to win the franchise’s first NBA championship this year. As for tonight’s match, JazzSports consider the Pelicans to be favorites at a -3 with a -100 juice, whereas Minnesota are the underdogs at a +3 with a -110 juice. The over/under for this game is 229 1/2.
As said before, the Louisiana side rank 4th in the West with a 26-22 record, as they face Minnesota tonight (7:00pm CST) at the Smoothie King Center. As for the Timberwolves, they are 9th also in the West, but aren’t too far behind the Pelicans with a 24-25 track.