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Zion Williamson, a freshman from Duke, attends the NBA Draft media availability, Wednesday, June 19, 2019 in New York. The basketball draft will be held Thursday, June 20. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Zion Williamson to make NBA debut against Spurs

The debut of Zion Williamson has been pushed back for weeks, but the power forward is set to play Wednesday night.

High Expectations

Drafted out of Duke with the first overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, Zion Williamson was touted by some to be the next candidate for the NBA’s Mount Rushmore.

Williamson, who gained fame in high school for his acrobatic dunks, played for coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. He became only the third freshman in history to win the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s men’s player of the year.

After one year in Durham, Zion declared for the 2019 NBA Draft.

When the New Orleans Pelicans won the ‘Zion Sweepstakes‘ during the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, they sold season-tickets faster than they could handle.

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A youthful core, new management and suddenly the most exciting player coming to the NBA since Lebron James in 2003. The Pelicans looked set to make a name for themselves in the NBA.

Struggling to Stay Healthy

One of the biggest criticisms for Williamson coming out of college was his health.

Duke’s Zion Williamson (1) falls to the floor with an injury while chasing the ball with North Carolina’s Luke Maye (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Williamson famously had his shoe break during a game against UNC. He missed five games in the regular season for the Blue Devils with a sprain. Despite this, Williamson was clearly the best of Coach K’s men in his return, averaging over 26 points per game in the seven postseason games.

However, the injuries continued.

In four preseason games, Zion Williamson injured his meniscus. Although unclear, coaches and staff for the New Orleans Pelicans point to a game against the San Antonio Spurs that did the most damage. This caused Zion to receive an arthroscopic surgery to repair his knee.

This was thought to sideline the 6’3, 285-pound star for only several weeks, but it ended up being much more severe than anticipated.

A Long Road Back

Williamson did not anticipate to be out this long.

He says the comeback to being healthy has been a frustrating journey.

In fact, the Pelicans are so delicate with Williamson, they are trying to change the way he runs and lands after jumping so as to not reaggravate his injuries.

Williamson says despite how strenuous the process has been, these little details can make a large difference in the development of his body.

While Williamson has struggled to come back from injury, the Pelicans have been ailing in the standings without him.

Currently sitting at 17-27 (12th in the Western Conference), the Pelicans hope he can bring a new energy boost to squeak into the playoffs..

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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