The New Orleans Pelicans looked promising in the preseason with top rookie Zion Williamson at the helm. Most are eager to see if he can do the same in the regular season. Unfortunately, there has been a slight delay in seeing that. Williamson underwent arthroscopic surgery on a torn right lateral meniscus and will be out for a while.

According to CNN, Williamson will return in six to eight weeks. The former Duke Blue Devil sustained the injury during the NBA preseason. The 19-year-old proved good as advertised, running roughshod on the opposition. That included a thunderous debut for the Pelicans against the Atlanta Hawks.

The injury is a big blow to Pelicans fans who wanted to see more of the 6-foot-7 forward this coming NBA season. With the departure of Anthony Davis, the native of Salisbury, North Carolina is seen as the new face of the franchise. Expected to be out until December, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry will have to turn to someone else for the meantime.

As mentioned in a previous post, NBA veteran Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor will likely fill up the void left by the sensational rookie. Aside from the two, there is also Brandon Ingram to consider. Ingram seems to have recovered from that deep vein thrombosis in his arm, something that forced him to the sidelines. However, he looked pretty impressive in the preseason games of the Pelicans.

In a way, the unfortunate sidelining of Williamson could be considered a blessing in disguise. It will allow Gentry to test other players in the mix and provide him with alternatives. Favors, Okafor and Ingram have had their moments with their previous teams. And if there is an opportune time to recall those, it would be now.

If the frontline fails to deliver, Gentry may have to ask his backcourt to step up. Jrue Holiday leads the way along with new faces Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. The guards will be forced to double their efforts, especially if the Pels frontline sputters. This may be the scenario at least until the end of 2019.

The Pelicans will have their work cut out for them as they face the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors at home. They visit the Scotiabank Arena with tip-off set at 10:00 p.m. EDT.

Zion Williamson Duke Louisville Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils shoots the ball against the Louisville Cardinals at KFC YUM! Center on February 12, 2019 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images