New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson has been downgraded to out for the team’s matchup with the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night with a posterior hip contusion. Herbert Jones will also be sidelined with a hyperextended knee, as well as Brandon Ingram who has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol after all three suffered injuries in the team’s loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
“Z’s fall could’ve been much worse and doesn’t seem like it is,” Pelicans head coach Willie Green said on Monday. “Sore. Bruises. Nothing catastrophic, but something we have to monitor over the next few days.”
Williamson’s injury was the most notable, not only because of his injury history but the way in which it happened. Late in the fourth quarter, he got free on the fastbreak for what looked like it was going to be a showtime dunk. Instead, Jordan Clarkson came out of nowhere for an incredible block.
The force of Clarkson’s block knocked Williamson off balance, and he crashed to the floor on his back. Williamson did not return to the game, as the Pelicans used a 17-point comeback to force an extra frame before ultimately losing on a last-second shot by Kelly Olynyk.
It’s unclear how much time beyond this one game Williamson will miss but given his lengthy injury history, the Pelicans will surely be cautious in handling this. Before exiting the game against the Jazz, Williamson was already up to 25 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Through the first three games of the season, he averaged 22 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists, and he was back to his bulldozing ways whenever he was headed downhill toward the rim.
When Williamson is healthy, the Pelicans looked like a threat in the Western Conference. But if he has to miss a chunk of time, it will derail the early season success this team has put together.