MIAMI (AP) — Zion Williamson had a simple message after New Orleans’ preseason game in Miami on Wednesday night.
“I’m fine,” he said.
For those who saw the Pelicans’ power forward roll his left ankle in the second quarter of the game, Williamson was delivering excellent news.
Williamson — who didn’t play at all last season because of problems with his right foot — got hurt on a play where he grabbed a rebound, brought the ball downcourt, split multiple Heat defenders and got to the rim. His left ankle simply appeared to buckle as he planted, without making contact with any other player.
“I want to use the right term, but in the moment, it didn’t feel too good,” Williamson said. “It was one of those things that happened and I popped back up like, ‘Yeah, I’m straight.’ Played a few minutes after that, felt fine, then they sent me to the back just to double-check.”
He stayed in the game for about three more minutes after getting hurt, making two free throws, then assisting a 3-pointer by CJ McCollum, making a layup, then converting a three-point play before getting subbed out with 6:42 left in the half.
Williamson was evaluated by doctors, who assured him that he was only going to experience soreness. Pelicans coach Willie Green said he did not expect the ankle to create a long-term problem.
“He’s doing fine,” Green said. “Looks like, I think, he might have rolled his ankle a little bit. He’ll be day to day.”
Williamson was limited to 24 games in his rookie season, 2019-20, because of right knee problems. He played in 61 games the following year and hasn’t played in a real game for the Pelicans since.
New Orleans opens the regular season Oct. 19 at Brooklyn. Williamson finished with 11 points in 11 minutes for the Pelicans on Wednesday, and Miami won the exhibition game 120-103.