Zion Williamson sidelined indefinitely with “avoidable” left finger fracture

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Pelicans forward Zion Williamson
Mar 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) brings the ball up court against Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Smoothie King Center (Photo: Stephen Lew).

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Pelicans announced Friday that Zion Williamson will be sidelined indefinitely with a fractured left ring finger.

The team indicated that Williamson underwent a series of diagnostic testing Thursday at Ochsner Health prior to the team’s departure to Philadelphia.

“A treatment plan and timetable for his return to play will be determined upon further evaluation,” said the team via a release.

David Griffin, Pelicans Executive Vice President, did not mince words regarding the injury Friday, stating the All-Star forward suffered an “avoidable” injury that was inevitable since Williamson “was being beaten over and over on the hand” without foul calls by NBA officials.

I’m really frustrated because this was avoidable. We told the NBA through every means available to us. Through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the officials department, and everybody in basketball operations that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured.

And quite frankly he’s injured now because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point that other players have said to him “I’m going to keep doing this to you because they don’t call it.” So there is more violence encouraged in the paint against Zion Williamson than any player I’ve seen since Shaq. It was egregious and horrific then and the same is true now.

I’m particularly disappointed in myself and our organization. We did a very poor job apparently of explaining with the proper sense of urgency how severe this situation was from a league perspective. That’s my fault. This situation is something that very much should have been able to be avoided if we were protecting our players in the way that we should be in the league and this just was not done.

Again, I’m very disappointed that he’s not going to be available here for the foreseeable future anyway, but I’m more disappointed in us quite frankly. That we weren’t able to bring the appropriate sense of urgency to the league conversation around the way he was officiated.

See the full video conference from Griffin here:

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