2024 SoFi Play-In Tournament

Zion Williamson (hamstring) to miss Play-In game vs. Kings

The Pelicans' star big man was injured late in Tuesday's SoFi Play-In Tournament loss to the Lakers.

Zion Williamson, who had 40 points and 11 rebounds in his postseason debut, was forced to leave with 3:19 left in the game.

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The New Orleans Pelicans will be down one of their best players for their next SoFi Play-In Tournament game.

The Pelicans will not have All-Star forward Zion Williamson for their game Friday vs. the Sacramento Kings (9:30 ET, TNT/truTV), the team announced on Wednesday. He has a left hamstring strain and will be evaluated in two weeks.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the injury.

The winner of Friday’s game will secure the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and a first-round series against the No. 1-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.

Williamson is essentially out for much of that potential series. Should the Pelicans land the No. 8 seed, a two-week timeline would have Williamson back in the lineup for Game 5 of the first-round series (May 1) with Game 6 (May 3) and Game 7 (May 5) happening quickly thereafter.

Williamson was a key figure in the Pelicans’ 110-106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, finishing with 40 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. His dominant performance was cut short, however, by an injury in the final minutes of the game.

Shortly after tying the game at 95 on a driving layup with 3:19 to go, Williamson went to the locker room, throwing a towel to the floor in disgust as he walked into the tunnel with an apparent injury.

After the game, Pelicans coach Willie Green said Williamson had “left leg soreness.” Williamson is slated to have further testing on Wednesday to determine his status for Friday’s Play-In elimination game vs. Sacramento.

“He’s going to have some imaging on it tomorrow and we’ll figure out more,” Green said.

Soon after Williamson went out, James hit a jumper, Davis dunked Austin Reaves’ alley-oop lob, DeAngelo Russell hit a 3 and Davis grabbed a crucial offensive rebound, after which he hit two free throws to help the Lakers hold on.

“Obviously a tough loss for us,” said Green, whose team could have clinched the sixth seed in the NBA playoffs on Sunday, but lost at home to the Lakers, 124-108, setting up Tuesday night’s rematch in the play-in. “We’ve got to feel this one tonight and regroup and get ready for another one.”

Williamson, Green said, was “fantastic.”

“He settled into the game. He just continued to attack. He found seams. He rebounded the ball. He played fast,” Green continued. “(If) we have him for a few more minutes, maybe we have a chance to pull this thing out.”

“It’s tough,” Pelicans forward Trey Murphy said of watching Williamson exit the game, per Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com. “Especially with all of the work he’s put in (to play in a career-best 70 games during the regular season). You wish the best for him. It definitely sucks.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.