Zion Williamson Exits Pelicans–Lakers Play-in Game in Closing Minutes With Apparent Injury

The New Orleans star left the game with three minutes to play.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans had to operate the closing minutes of their 110–106 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA play-in tournament Tuesday without star forward Zion Williamson.

Williamson exited the game with 3:13 to play due to an apparent injury. He appeared to sustain the injury after driving to the basket and knocking down a floater over Lakers center Anthony Davis.

After walking over to the Pelicans' bench, Williamson slammed a towel in frustration and headed into the locker room.

Pelicans coach Willie Green told reporters after the game that Williamson was dealing with "left leg soreness." The Athletic's Shams Charania reported late Tuesday that Williamson is believed to have suffered a left hamstring injury. He will get imaging on his leg Wednesday for more clarification.

At the time, the game was tied at 95. The Lakers outscored the Pelicans 15–11 the rest of the way to secure the win and the No. 7 playoff seed.

Williamson was outstanding on both ends of the floor before he had to exit the game. In 36 minutes, Williamson poured in 40 points—just three shy of his career high—and 11 rebounds.

The Duke product has struggled through injuries over his career but had his healthiest season to date in 2023–24. Williamson appeared in a career-high 70 games and led the Pelicans to the play-in tournament.

After losing to Los Angeles on Tuesday, the Pelicans will face the winner of Tuesday's game between the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors on Friday. The winner of that game will clinch the No. 8 seed in the West and face the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round.

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Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.