So, it has been impossible to overlook all the peculiarities of Williamson’s latest injury.
On media day, Pelicans lead executive David Griffin announced Williamson broke his foot earlier in the summer then underwent surgery. Griffin stressed the news wasn’t as bad as it sounded to the public, who was learning it for the first time, because it wasn’t fresh to the team. “We were dealing with it all offseason,” Griffin said
Griffin also said, “His timeline should get him back on the court in time for regular season. That would be our hope and our view, and we’re very optimistic about what that looks like.” But when revealing Williamson would miss the start of the regular season, Griffin claimed he never meant the start of the regular season, only during the regular season.
There’s a strong belief in league circles that the Pelicans were unaware of that procedure until Williamson reported to New Orleans ahead of media day, although one team source contacted by B/R maintained the Pelicans and Williamson were aligned on the injury’s timeline.
He’s since reached north of 300 pounds this offseason, sources said, again fueling concerns among New Orleans staffers similar to the months leading up to his rookie debut. When he joined the Pelicans’ recent preseason trip to Minnesota, several league personnel on hand were struck by his heavier appearance than his listed playing weight last season of 284 pounds. “I know Zion at 280, and he was not 280,” said one observer.
It’s hard to get in shape while recovering from a foot injury. Conditioning would be part of any player’s recovery.
It’s fair to question whether Williamson’s heavier frame makes him more susceptible to injury. The amount of force he plays with is incredible. With more weight behind that force, that’s a lot of stress to put on his body.
Now, it sounds like there are questions about whether Williamson’s weight has delayed his return. To achieve his goal of making the playoffs, New Orleans badly needs him on the court.
If the Pelicans didn’t know about Williamson’s surgery until media, that is a massive and distressing communication breakdown. It already sounded like some people close to Williamson don’t want him building a stronger connection with the franchise.
For his part, Williamson says he loves New Orleans.
But questions continue to swirl around nearly every aspect of his career.