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Zion Williamson has yet to play a regular-season game in the NBA. The 2019 number one pick out of Duke University has been sidelined with a right knee injury since October 21, 2018, and was initially slated to be out for 6-8 weeks. Earlier this month, Williamson spoke with the media and gave an update on his recovery process.
“[The rehab] is going very well. Day by day, it’s getting better, and I think it’s going very well,” Williamson said. “I do feel like it’s getting stronger day by day. The trainers and staff are telling me day by day, it’s getting stronger, and I can feel the difference each day.”
He also revealed when the injury to his right knee occurred.
Williamson said he “felt some soreness” after a preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs and had it checked out after that. Being away from the team and missing out on his NBA debut has been a bit of a letdown for Williamson.
“It hurt at first,” Williamson said. “But I’m not out forever, so my mindset is just come back stronger, come back better so I can help my team.
“It’s just kind of ‘alright, let’s go in, let’s get it done and start the recovery process.’ I’m just kind of taking it day by day,” Williamson said. “I think when I’m ready — there’s no real timetable — when I’m ready, I’ll come back.”
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Former Knicks’ Coach Jeff Van Gundy Calls Zion Williamson a Future Hall-of-Famer
During Wednesday night’s ESPN broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans game, NBA analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy stated Williamson is going to be ‘Hall of Fame’ good.
“With Williamson, he is going to be great,” said Van Gundy. “I mean Hall of Fame-type great.”
It’s high praise from Van Gundy, who has coach several Hall of Famers in the past such as Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Patrick Ewing.
Van Gundy was asked if this belief was based on his preseason performance only.
“That and what you saw at Duke. This guy is going to be a great player.” Van Gundy stated.
The former Knicks coach also thinks Williamson saved basketball in New Orleans. He went as far as stating that if the Pelicans hadn’t won the first pick that “they wouldn’t have a franchise in five years.”
Derrick Rose Sounds off on in on Zion Williamson’s Weight
In a recent interview with Will Perdue of NBC Sports Chicago, Derrick Rose was asked what advice he would give Williamson. Rose is someone who had to deal with multiple leg injuries throughout his career with the Chicago Bulls.
“I mean, it’s a lot. First is your weight,” Rose told Will Perdue of NBC Sports Chicago. “I remember playing for the USA teams and I think my second time we were going and seeing all these doctors and I was getting all these MRIs and I was still feeling pain in my knees certain days. It all came down to my weight. Nobody said anything about my weight. I think I was around 212 or 214 (pounds) at the time. I was too heavy. It was the little things. I had to watch my diet. Once I watched my diet, I was fine. That was something I didn’t have to worry about.”
He continued by talking about Williamson and his explosiveness as a player.
“But Zion is in his own lane. Just being that heavy, playing the way that he plays, he’s explosive. He’s an athlete I think nobody’s ever seen before. His path is going to be totally different than mine, you know what I mean?” Rose said. “He has to, for one, learn the league. I had a chance to learn the league, play through my mistakes and I got injured year three or four. He got injured right away. So he has to learn his body right away, learn the league, learn what his skills are, work on his skills.”