Zion Williamson is determined to “come back stronger, come back better” following surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee.
“I’m not out forever,” the 19-year-old rookie told reporters Thursday, while adding that there’s no need to panic over New Orleans’ rough 1-6 start to the season.
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry says it would be “very ambitious” for Williamson to suit up again in November.
“It hurt at first, but I’m not out forever,” Williamson said. “My mindset is just come back stronger, come back better so I can help my team.”
The team initially provided a six- to eight-week recovery timetable, an estimate that would put Williamson back on the court in early or mid-December.
“It’s a long season,” Williamson said. “This isn’t like college or something where it’s 30 games. It’s 82 games, so I don’t really see a need to rush back.”
The injury, Williamson said, occurred in New Orleans’ second-to-last preseason game in San Antonio. Williamson looked excellent in one of his team’s final dress rehearsals, notching 22 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes, but began experiencing discomfort afterwards.
“I felt some soreness,” Williamson said. “I went and got it checked out, and I found out.”