Zion Williamson is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery Monday, the Pelicans announced.
The team said the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft had an arthroscopic procedure to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee.
The Pelicans described the procedure as a “routine debridement” performed by surgeons Jason Folk and Misty Suri.
An absence of six to eight weeks means Williamson would miss at least 20 games — nearly a quarter of the season.
The team said Thursday that the rookie would miss Friday’s preseason finale against the Knicks due to “right knee soreness.”
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters Friday that the team believes Williamson hurt his knee Oct. 13 against the Spurs. He added (via ESPN) that the 19-year-old is in good spirits: “He’s not dead, guys.”
Williamson averaged 23.3 points in four preseason games.
His loss for the start of the season is a blow not only to the Hornets but to the NBA as a whole. The Pelicans were given the honor of opening the regular season on national television Tuesday night against the defending champion Raptors in large part because Williamson is the most anticipated rookie to enter the league in years.