The Philadelphia 76ers' season-opener lost a little bit of juice on Thursday afternoon. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson will not have the opportunity to play in the first matchup of the year due to a setback he recently suffered.
The Pelicans revealed they would re-evaluate Williamson in about two weeks as he deals with a foot injury, leaving him off the floor against the Sixers next week. That's a tough blow for New Orleans, a team that is getting somewhat of a fresh start after making some changes.
Considering Williamson is their former first-overall pick, the former Duke standout is looking to take a considerable leap going into his third season. Unfortunately, year three will be placed on hold for the time being.
Now that the Sixers-Pelicans matchup won't have Zion Williamson involved, everybody will be curious to see if the Sixers will have one of their notable stars in the opener or not. Ever since the 76ers dropped Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs last season, three-time All-Star Ben Simmons has been looking for a trade so he can get a fresh start elsewhere.
So far, the Sixers haven't found a deal worth making. Therefore, Simmons remains a member of the team. Although he's missed every training camp practice and preseason game so far, the star guard is taking the proper steps to reunite with the team. Will he be back on the court versus the Pelicans next week? Or will he be another star missing the matchup? The Sixers can't say for sure, but it seems like either scenario is possible at this point.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.