Zion Williamson injury: Pelicans star out for Play-In game vs. Kings with hamstring strain

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson suffered a left hamstring strain and could miss the next two weeks, including the team’s win-or-go-home Play-In Tournament game Friday against the Sacramento Kings, the team announced. Williamson suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of the Pelicans’ 110-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the Play-In Tournament on Tuesday. 

An MRI taken Wednesday morning confirmed the injury as Williamson will be re-examined in approximately two weeks. 

With just over three minutes remaining, Williamson drove inside for a tough bucket that tied the game and gave him 40 points on the night. He grimaced as soon as he landed, however, and motioned to the bench for a substitution. At the next timeout, he hobbled back to the locker room and did not return. 

Here’s the play where Williamson injured himself. 

Williamson finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. He was exploding to the rim both in the half-court and in transition, seeking out slivers of space and bulldozing through them for finishes of equal parts force and finesse. 

He defended all night, too, standing up LeBron James with a live dribble on multiple occasions. He was on a clear mission. And he was delivering. And then, in a blink, just when it looked like he was about to lead the Pelicans to a dramatic comeback victory, his night, and the Pelicans’ shot at the 7 seed, ended. 

If you want to look at the glass half full as a Pelicans fan, winning this game wouldn’t have brought much of a reward — unless you consider playing, and very likely losing to, the Nuggets in the first round sounds like fun. The Pelicans are now playing with fire in a one-game elimination with the Kings, but if they can get out of that with a win, they will play the Thunder in the first round. 

The Thunder are no picnic, but they’re not the Nuggets. That would be a more winnable series for the Pels, but only if they have Williamson available. Per Wojnarowski, Williamson is to be re-evaluated in the coming weeks, which suggests that even if the Pelicans get to the first round, it may be a long shot for him to play. 

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