New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson is out indefinitely with a fractured finger and Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin believes the injury was avoidable if the league did a better job officiating Williamson.
"I believe he probably suffered the injury over a period of time," Griffin said, per ESPN. "It's a striking injury. It's a blunt-force injury. He was being beaten on the hand over and over and over again.
For me to tell you one time, I don't think I can do that. I don't think he knows one time." The Pelicans were telling the NBA for some time about the way Williamson was getting hit and in the end he ended up injured.
"I'm really frustrated because this was avoidable. We told the NBA through every means available to us, through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the officials department and everybody in basketball operations, that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured," Griffin said.
"And, quite frankly, he's injured because of the open season that there's been on Zion Williamson in the paint. "He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point that other players have said to him, 'I'm going to keep doing this to you because they don't call it.'
There is more violence encouraged in the paint than any player I've seen since [Shaquille O'Neal]. It was egregious and horrific then, and the same is true now."
Williamson takes a lot of hits
"He certainly takes a lot of hits.
We've been on the referees hard. I know I have been every game," Van Gundy said. "I get the response that, 'Well, how many free throws has he shot?' and my response is always, 'Not enough.' "The guy gets hit all the time.
... In my opinion, he should easily lead the league in free throw attempts. The swipe-downs, the guy on both hands is just getting killed every night. The referees let it go too often. This is what you're going to have."
Griffin suggested that Williamson has already played through an injury. "He's a player that wanted to be available to his teammates so badly that he played through an injury that quite frankly nobody else would've played through," Griffin said. "What reward he got for that was injuring the other hand in a way that didn't need to happen at all."