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Zion Williamson is coping with a finger harm throughout the Pelicans’ playoff push

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson’s long-awaited first playoff push with the New Orleans Pelicans gained’t be ache free.

Williamson injured a finger on his taking pictures hand whereas blocking a shot shortly earlier than halftime of New Orleans’ 117-108 loss to Orlando on Wednesday evening.

However some excellent news arrived on Thursday when coach Willie Inexperienced stated after apply that Williamson’s finger didn’t seem to have structural injury. Inexperienced added that Williamson can be listed as day after day on the membership’s harm report main as much as Friday evening’s residence recreation towards San Antonio.

“Simply banged it towards the backboard actually laborious,” Williamson stated after the sport.

Williamson stored taking part in after the harm, however not earlier than heading to the locker room to have it examined. The final of his 15 factors got here on a dunk within the fourth quarter, however he additionally sat out the sport’s closing seven-plus minutes.

With six video games remaining, the Pelicans have a tenuous maintain on sixth place within the Western Convention. They started Thursday only a half0game forward of seventh-place Sacramento. Solely the highest six seeds in every convention advance on to the NBA playoffs and keep away from a play-in involving groups that end seventh by tenth.

In the meantime, high-scoring wing Brandon Ingram has been sidelined since March 21 by a bone bruise in his left knee, and it’s not clear if he’ll return earlier than the top of the common season. However the Pelicans will be hopeful about their stretch run so long as Williamson avoids the kind of well being points that sidelined him for many of his first 4 NBA seasons.

Williamson has performed 65 video games this season, greater than every other common season in his earlier 4 years since being drafted first total out of Duke in 2019. His common of practically 23 factors per recreation leads the group. He has seemed as match and spry as ever, operating the ground and getting above the rim for alley-oop dunks on one finish or to swat away pictures on the opposite.

The Pelicans have made the Western Convention play-in twice and NBA playoffs as soon as up to now two seasons, however Williamson was not wholesome sufficient to play both time.

His kind and health these days have contrasted sharply with most of his earlier NBA seasons. He performed in simply 24 video games as a rookie due to a knee harm and different conditioning issues, missed all of his third season with a foot harm and was achieved after simply 29 video games final season due to a proper hamstring pressure.

Williamson has missed simply 11 video games this season however none since Feb. 10 and has performed in 26 straight video games.

“It’s simply attending to that a part of the season,” Williamson stated just lately. “Simply attempting to let my teammates know I’m right here — I’m with y’all.”

New Orleans has misplaced three straight and 4 of 5, however all 4 losses have come towards groups at present in place to make the playoffs — together with Boston and Oklahoma Metropolis, which boast two of the very best information within the NBA.

“There’s no must panic,” Williamson stated assuredly after the Orlando loss. “We simply acquired to return with a better degree of focus into these subsequent few video games.”



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