NBA Rumors: Zion Williamson could make surprise return in playoffs for Pelicans?

Zion Williamson's season may not entirely be over just yet.
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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NBA Rumors: Zion Williamson could make a surprise return in the NBA Playoffs for the New Orleans Pelicans?

Over the first few years of his career, there's an argument to be made that Zion Williamson has emerged as one of the most polarizing young stars in the league. Even looking at the pure counting stat sheet this season, it's easy to say that Zion has taken a bit of a step back this year. However, when you look even closer into the success that the Pelicans have had this season thus far, you can't tell their entire story without talking about the contributions of Zion.

Perhaps most importantly, Zion has begun to prove that he can be consistent and durable as a young star. In what ended up being the most games played of his career, Zion finished the regular season with 70 appearances. Zion managed to not only sidestep any major injuries this season, but he continued to prove that he could be a dominant force in this league. And while from a statistical perspective, this hasn't been an ideal season for Zion individually, he has bought into the team philosophy and looked more and more comfortable as the season went on.

Specifically, there's an argument to be made that Zion was having one of the best performances of the season in the NBA Play-In Tournament opening game against the Los Angeles Lakers. If it wasn't for an injury during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, there's a chance that the Pelicans would've won that game.

Unfortunately, Zion had to exit the game due to a hamstring injury. He also missed the team's second Play-In Tournament game in which they managed to beat the Sacramento Kings. He missed Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and is slated to also miss Game 2, at least.

Could Zion Williamson return soon?

However, there's growing hope that Zion can make a somewhat surprising return to the Pelicans in the playoffs. If New Orleans can find a way to win a game or two and extend this first-round series, there's a chance that Zion could make his return in the next few days.

While a lot of that depends on how Zion continues to recover from the injury, it's still a bit premature to say that his season is completely over. The Pelicans are likely going to take precautions and play it safe when it comes to bringing Zion back, but it seems as if there's at least a chance that it could happen.

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