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Initially expected back for opening tip, there's now 'no fixed timeline' for Zion Williamson after foot surgery

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When New Orleans Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin announced in late September that Zion Williamson had undergone offseason foot surgery, he couched it by adding the star should be ready by the season opener. 

Now, less than one week away from first tip, any idea of a timeline is up in the air. 

Griffin told reporters on Thursday that Williamson has "no fixed timeline" for a return to game action. Surgeons have reviewed the scans and Williamson is cleared for the next step, which will be progressions in running and on-court work, he said. It will be reassessed in about two weeks. 

Zion Williamson suffered right foot injury in workout

Williamson fractured his right foot during an offseason workout ahead of summer league in early August. Griffin said in late September that Pelicans officials had met with the family to set a schedule for his return to play. 

"His timeline should get him back on the court in time for the regular season," Griffin said then. "That would be our hope and our view, and we're very optimistic about what that looks like."

The Pelicans open the regular season on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Health a concern for former No. 1

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will miss opening night after offseason foot surgery. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Williamson averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 33.2 minutes per game last season. He had 61 appearances and earned his first All-Star nod. 

He came out of Duke as one of the biggest collegiate superstars in recent years and was taken No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the Pelicans. But injury immediately delayed his debut, and has proven problematic since.

He played in only 24 games his rookie season after tearing his right meniscus during Pelicans training camp in October 2019. Last year, he a fractured left index finger that ended his season six games early, and the Pelicans missed the play-in tournament by two games. 

Williamson, 6-foot-7 and 287 pounds, also missed nearly a month with a right knee sprain while a freshman at Duke in the 2018-19 season. 

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