If the New Orleans Pelicans are forced to compete in the play-in tournament, injured star Zion Williamson will not feature, general manager David Griffin announced Friday.

Williamson has missed the last 43 games with a hamstring injury. Griffin said the “best possible outcome” for Williamson would be to return to practice before or during the first round of the playoffs if the Pelicans get that far, according to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.

“It’s really hard,” Griffin said. “We may never get to that point either. If it’s not a situation where all those things align and he feels the way he needs to feel, then we’re not gonna let him go to the next phase.”

The two-time All-Star has played in just 29 contests this season after missing all of the 2021-22 campaign with a foot injury. Williamson has featured in just 114 games over his four-year NBA career.

After a rough stretch that included a 10-game losing streak in January and early February, New Orleans has righted the ship recently, winning eight of its last 10.

The Pelicans currently stand at 41-39 and have clinched a play-in spot. They’re one game out of the top six in the Western Conference with two contests remaining in the regular season.

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