Zion Day Has Been Postponed

The star has undergone knee surgery.

Jim Rome
October 22, 2019 - 11:32 am
Zion Williamson

USA Today


Today is a day that has been circled on the calendar for a long time. October 22nd, Zion Day. Basketball Christmas. The day that Zion Williamson would make his regular season NBA debut against the NBA champion Raptors.

This was the day that we were going to see things like this in the NBA.

Or this...

Or this..

And now Zion Day has been postponed.

That’s because the Pelicans announced yesterday that “Zion Williamson underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to address a torn right lateral meniscus.”

They added that “The timetable for his full return to play is estimated at six to eight weeks.”

Which means that Basketball Christmas probably won’t take place until around the time of the actual Christmas.

And let me be the first person to say: that sucks. That flat out sucks. For the world and more importantly, for Zion.

I know the injury was first announced on Thursday and everyone started to deal with the reality of that a few days ago, but you can’t tell me that you weren’t hoping that something amazing would’ve happened, that the injury wasn’t as bad as they initially thought, and he’d be cleared by now.

Instead, he’s out for a month and a half or two. Which means that on Thursday, we lost Zion Williamson and Patrick Mahomes within hours. 

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Steve Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area in an interview that will air today that when it comes to Klay Thompson, "It's unlikely that he's going to play this year.”

What. The. Hell. 

I don’t care whether you love or hate New Orleans, Kansas City, or Golden State, if you love sports, you have to love Zion, Patrick, and Klay. Because they do things that nobody else can do. And now we’re looking at time without each of them.

And that sucks. How many more gut punches can we take?

And there are two different ways to respond to the Zion injury and news of the surgery. One is to say that it’s a minor surgery and that he’ll be back in a few weeks. And to that I would say, I don’t want to be an alarmist, but there’s no such thing as minor knee surgery.

Minor knee surgery is surgery that’s done on someone else’s knee.

And furthermore, these are two incredibly precious knees. As a society, we need to protect Zion with everything we have, because a talent like him comes along once a decade, if that.  Maybe once a generation.

So you’ve got the “it’s a minor surgery, don’t worry” crowd. And then you’ve got the crowd that is immediately screaming about Zion’s durability. . And saying that this is the start of an injury-riddled career and that Zion needs to completely reshape his body because there’s no way a guy that big, can play that way, for any period of time.  That he’s a ticking time bomb and ultimately will explode just like his shoe did in college. 

How about this. How about, maybe, it’s neither? How about everyone take a step back and chill the hell out. 

How about saying it’s a knee surgery, and it’s concerning, like any surgery: and then give the guy his time and space for recovery: you know, like every other athlete, in ever other sport in the history of the world.  Do that, instead of immediately rushing in to question his durability and declare his career over before it’s even started.  What I’m saying is, settle the hell down. 

Yeah, it’s a big buzzkill to miss out on two months of him, but not if he’s rattling rims and swatting dudes for the next 15 years. 

I know a lot of you are always looking to rush in and extinguish the fire with kerosene, but maybe you give it a minute or two before you go all john brenkus, sports scientist with it and scream from the roof tops that he’s just too heavy, too fast, and too explosive and that his body just can’t handle it.  How the hell do you know??

And yes, I’m aware that this is the same knee he injured in college. But do you remember how he injured that knee? In THAT bizarre sneaker accident. His shoe exploded, that’s how his knee was injured. And yes, I’m also aware that he missed time in Summer League because of a knee injury, but that was the other knee and it was described as a bruise.

So if you want to connect the dots between a shoe explosion on one leg, a bruise on the other, and now claim that he’s too big, too fast, or too explosive, you go right ahead.  Me…I’m going to sit that one out for now.

Because that size and that speed and that explosiveness and the fact that he goes so hard every time he steps on the court is exactly what makes him special. That’s why he’s so good. That’s why he’s so different. 

So you do you. You can freak out. You can panic and say it’s never going to work, that someone like Zion shouldn’t be able to do what he does and that his body will just give out. But don’t look for me to follow you on that. Not yet. Not now.  

I’m not freaking out, I’m just bummming out a little. Because I was already fired up to see what he could do in the NBA and now I’ll just have to wait a little longer. And that sucks.