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Zion Williamson Wants to Play, the Pelicans Won't Let Him

Ryan Phillips
Zion Williamson, Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson, Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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Zion Williamson hasn't played all season as he's been recovering from a fractured foot. Apparently, the 21-year-old and the New Orleans Pelicans don't agree on whether he's actually healthy enough to take the floor. A new report suggests Williamson wants to play and the team is holding him back.

On Wednesday night, ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth captured video of Williamson working out before the Pelicans took on the San Antonio Spurs in one of the NBA's play-in games. At one point he busted out a 360 dunk that had the Internet buzzing.

That led to speculation Williamson might actually be healthy and could show up in the postseason if New Orleans makes it. A new report claims the Pelicans are holding Williamson back, while the player believes he's ready.

ESPN's Andrew Lopez wrote in an extensive piece on Williamson's career on Friday. In it, Williamson's stepfather Lee Anderson discusses the differing views of the player and the team:

According to multiple sources, there's currently a difference of opinion between the Pelicans and Williamson on whether he is healthy enough to play. The team maintains that the bone in Williamson's foot hasn't healed enough for him to take the floor.

Anderson suggested as much.

"Speaking for the Pelicans staff ... they are putting some stock in Zion getting healthy and being ready for the long haul," Anderson said. "But my thing with the long haul, you have to wait on it. The short haul, sometimes when you're faced with an opportunity right now, you never know when you're going to be presented with that opportunity again."

Earlier in the report, Lopez claims Williamson got really excited by the Pelicans' late season run and returned to New Orleans from Portland -- where he was rehabbing -- to be with the team during its stretch run. With that in mind, it's not surprising he wants to play now. But the Pelicans are holding him out.

We don't know who is right in this situation, but New Orleans is attempting to protect its long-term investment by keeping Williamson on the sidelines and not risking further injury. The issue is, the team might be ticking off its biggest star by doing so. Will it create another rift between the two camps? That's certainly possible.

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