Pelicans star Zion Williamson suffered fractured right foot in offseason workout

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Pelicans star Zion Williamson is expected back for the start of the regular season after breaking his right foot in the offseason. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pelicans star Zion Williamson is expected back for the start of the regular season after breaking his right foot in the offseason. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson fractured his right foot during an offseason workout prior to summer league in early August, vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said on media day.

Williamson had the foot surgically repaired during the summer. Griffin, Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon, first-year coach Willie Green and Aaron Nelson, the team's vice president of player care and performance, met with Williamson and his family on Sunday to establish a schedule for his return to play.

"His timeline should get him back on the court in time for the regular season," Griffin said during his media availability on Monday. "That would be our hope and our view, and we're very optimistic about what that looks like. Unfortunately, I know that's going to be taken as a very big negative for all of you. It's really not for us, because we were dealing with it all offseason, and we feel very confident about where things are."

Williamson, who was not wearing a walking boot for his media session, confirmed that he expects to be in uniform and available when the Pelicans open the regular season against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 20.

The recent No. 1 overall pick averaged 27 points (on 60/33/68 shooting splits), 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 33.2 minutes per game over 61 appearances last season, earning his first All-Star Game appearance.

Health has been a major concern for Williamson since his freshman season at Duke, where he missed nearly a month with a right knee sprain. He tore his right meniscus during Pelicans training camp in October 2019 and appeared in just 24 games during his rookie season. A fractured left index finger cost Williamson the final six games of last season, when New Orleans missed the play-in tournament by two games.

Williamson was not in attendance when the Pelicans hosted informal workouts in Nashville over the past two weeks and is unlikely to participate in preseason games, according to Griffin. Pelicans strength and conditioning coach Stan Williams has been working closely with Williamson throughout his rehabilitation.

The relationship between Williamson and Griffin is allegedly fractured, dating back to a disagreement the rising superstar had with the team's medical staff throughout his recovery from the meniscus tear and during the minutes restriction that ensued, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Christian Clark.

That has raised questions about Williamson's commitment to the Pelicans beyond his rookie contract. The third-year forward is eligible for a maximum extension next summer. He would be the first to refuse that contract if he instead signed a $17.6 million qualifying offer and became an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

For his part, Williamson pledged public loyalty to the Pelicans at media day.

"I love it here," he said. "I love the city of New Orleans. I don't want to be anywhere else."

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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