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Pelicans' Zion Williamson progressing, remains out indefinitely

Zion Williamson's fractured right foot shows signs of 'improved bone healing.'

Shams Charania reports on the progress Zion Williamson is making on his foot injury.

The New Orleans Pelicans provided an update regarding the health of Zion Williamson on Wednesday, saying there is “improved bone healing” in his injured right foot.

The 21-year-old star remains out indefinitely and will “gradually progress to full weight-bearing exercise and basketball activities.”

“We’re all pleased with the results, that he’s progressing. But it’s still a long road ahead of him,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He’s aware of it, but he’s taking necessary steps to continue to improve. We’ll see how it goes.”

Williamson, who averaged a team-high 27 points and was an All-Star last season, was trying to return to practice in mid-December from an injury that occurred during the summer; he hurt his foot while performing basketball drills with his stepfather, with whom he has entrusted his offseason training.

But imaging of his foot at that time revealed a setback and the club said Williamson would stop practicing and focus on healing.

The Pelicans revealed the injury on the first day of training camp in September, saying they hoped he’d be ready to play by the regular-season opener on Oct. 20. Williamson initially agreed with that timeline, which has since proved overly optimistic by several months.

Williamson, drafted first overall out of Duke in 2019, played in just 24 games as a rookie because of a preseason right knee injury (lateral meniscus). In his second season, he played in 61 of 72 games, averaging 27 points per game.

Without Williamson, the Pelicans started 1-12 but have steadily climbed into contention for a Western Conference playoff berth. They also acquired high-scoring guard CJ McCollum from Portland two days before the NBA trade deadline with the aim of consolidating their recent gains in the standings.

After losing four of five games after the trade, the Pelicans returned from the All-Star break with consecutive lopsided road victories against Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Entering Wednesday night’s home game against Sacramento, the Pelicans (25-36) and Portland (25-36) were tied for the 10th and final play-in spot in the West with 21 regular season-games remaining.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.