New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a fractured left ring finger, the team announced on Friday.
The second-year phenom briefly exited Tuesday’s contest against the Golden State Warriors with a left hand injury but eventually returned to help propel a crucial victory.
The Pelicans have been fighting to keep their postseason hopes alive, but the loss of their leading scorer certainly makes that road tougher. New Orleans has six games remaining and currently sits 1.5 games out of the 10th spot in the Western Conference, a seed that will qualify for the State Farm Play-In Tournament.
Pelicans VP of basketball operations David Griffin expressed frustration before Friday’s game in Philadelphia, citing officiating as the reason Williamson is injured.
“Quite frankly, he’s injured now because of the open season there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint,” Griffin said. “He’s been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis.”
Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy shared similar criticism: “The way he has been officiated all year has been a source of frustration for me.”
It’s been a stellar second-year campaign for Williamson, who has averaged 27 points on 61.1% shooting, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 61 appearances.