by Alex Poletti
The New Orleans Pelicans received some bad news before the start of the regular season, as rookie Zion Williamson was sidelined with a knee injury that will keep him on the bench for six to eight weeks. Given some time to reflect on the cause of his injury, Williamson admits that attempting a double-backflip dunk over shark-infested waters was not his smartest decision.
“I think I just got eager. I was trying to do too much in the preseason,” Williamson says, nursing his knee. “I wanted to give the crowd a show, but perhaps I took it too far with the double backflip before the dunk. I think I could’ve done without the peril of falling into a pool of sharks, too. That should have been saved for regular season action.”
Critics have speculated that Zion’s weight may have been a determining factor in not completing the double flip and spraining his knee, while others noted that Williamson has a history of knee injuries, and that the Pelicans should have been more cautious with their young star.
“People keep on pushing this weight narrative, and that’s just ridiculous,” Pelicans general manager David Griffin says. “This wasn’t about his weight or his build, that just makes great buzz for the media. He just played too hard too early in the season. It was a rookie mistakes. Lord knows if I had his talent at his age, I’d be trying to dunk over a volcano, not just a couple Great Whites.”
Luckily for Zion, the New Orleans Saints’ backup athletic trainers are on the job. With their low budget and lack of experience, the former Duke star’s eight-week-long injury will only take four months to heal.
“We know what we’re doing, Zion will be ready to go in no time,” Tom Maystadt, head athletic trainer for the Pelicans, says. “As soon as we figure out where on his body his knee is, whe should have no trouble fixing him up.”
Williamson is expected to be more careful when he returns from injury, his competitive drive may put him at risk for reinjury. However, the first overall draft pick has assured his team and the press that while he will continue to play hard, his health comes first.
“I want to win, that’s my number one goal,” Williamson says. “But I’ve talked it over with the team, and we think it’s best if I take it easy my first few weeks back. Still, the competitive spirit will still be there. Maybe no dunking over sharks, but you can probably expect some sharp knives and chainsaws.”