David Chao, MD: Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop On Zion Williamson

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With the NBA All-Star Game today, the continued absence of Zion Williamson is even more glaring. The young marquee player and former No. 1 overall selection has been an all-star his first two seasons but has missed all of his third campaign so far with a foot injury.

At this point, don’t expect Zion back at all this season. The bad news started with an August 2021 Jones (5th metatarsal) fracture and surgery which has been slow to heal. Over two months ago, my opinion already was that the regression of healing was likely to lead to a second surgery and the end of his season despite optimism then from the team.

The news has now turned more ominous with reports of a potential second surgery coming. At this point it seems clear that Zion will not be back this season and a second surgery with the addition of bone graft would make sense to ensure healing for next season.

Rumors of his weight issues aren’t helping the situation either. This adds stress to the non-healing fracture. As players get bigger/faster/stronger, one’s foot doesn’t get bigger/stronger.

Williamson is most famous for his shoe blowout, but now we are all waiting for the “other shoe” to drop on the bad news of more surgery.

Sometimes the best path is to hit the reset button given the timing and the standings. It seems that Zion and the Pelicans should do this and get ready for next season.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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