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Pelicans star Zion Williamson out for play-in game vs. Kings

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Zion Williamson will not be in uniform when the New Orleans Pelicans play host to the Sacramento Kings in a play-in tournament elimination game Friday at Smoothie King Center.

Williamson has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. The Pelicans said an MRI showed Williamson is suffering from a strained left hamstring. He will be reexamined in about two weeks.

The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the Western Conference playoffs as the No. 8 seed to face the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in a first-round series beginning Sunday.

Williamson suffered the injury in Tuesday’s 110-106 play-in victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. He put up 40 points and 11 rebounds before leaving a tie game with 3:13 remaining.

The loss of Williamson comes as a huge blow to the Pelicans. The 6-foot-6, 284-pound forward has been plagued by injuries since the Pelicans selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Williamson has been relatively healthy this season, appearing in a career-high 70 games. He averaged 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 57% from the field. New Orleans went 7-5 in the 12 games Williamson missed, including a 133-100 blowout win over Sacramento on Jan. 7.

The Pelicans went 5-0 against the Kings during the regular season. Williamson appeared in four of those games, averaging 23 points on 65.6% shooting. He had 31 points in a 134-123 victory over the Kings when they last met April 11 in Sacramento.

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