Zion Williamson has been ruled out indefinitely with a fractured finger, further denting the New Orleans Pelicans' slim playoff hopes.
The 2019 first overall draft pick was limited to just 24 games in his debut season with a meniscus tear but has been outstanding this year.
Williamson's 27.0 points per game on 61.1 per cent shooting from the field – the best mark of any player averaging 15 points or more – have kept the Pelicans in the postseason mix.
New Orleans are 11th in the Western Conference but sit just 1.5 games behind the slumping San Antonio Spurs, who occupy the final play-in place in 10th.
However, they now look set to be without their talisman for the final six games of the season.
A Pelicans statement on Friday read: "The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Zion Williamson underwent a series of diagnostic testing at Ochsner Health yesterday prior to the team's departure to Philadelphia.
Zion Injury Update: pic.twitter.com/DPY2RSJq0x— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) May 7, 2021
"A CT scan revealed a fractured left ring finger. He will be sidelined indefinitely.
"A treatment plan and timetable for his return to play will be determined upon further evaluation."
Brandon Ingram, the team's second star scoring 23.8 points, had already been ruled out of Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers with a low ankle sprain.
The forward was injured in New Orleans' win over the Golden State Warriors in which Lonzo Ball led the team with 33 points.
However, that was a career high and Ball is averaging a more modest 14.6 for the year.