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Zion Williamson, one of the NBA’s top attractions heading into the 2019-20 season, will have his professional debut put on hold for the next six to eight weeks — rough news for the league just one day before the season gets started.
Williamson underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, the New Orleans Pelicans announced, sidelining the No. 1 overall pick until after Thanksgiving.
After entering the NBA with LeBron James level of attention, Williamson had a spectacular preseason for the Pelicans, averaging more than 26 points and six rebounds while shooting 71% from the field in his first four games as a professional.
His immediate dominance had New Orleans quietly confident about earning a playoff spot only a few months removed from trading star Anthony Davis to the Lakers.
But the injury hurts those chances while also stoking existing fears about Williamson -- that his size (6 feet 7 and 285 pounds) and the force with which he plays could add up to more injuries.
New Orleans opens the season Tuesday at Toronto.