Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski says that superstar Frosh Zion Williamson has a “mild knee sprain” addressing reporters after last night’s loss to North Carolina. This according to ESPN.
Duke lost Williamson 36 seconds into the contest in their 88-72 loss to the Tar Heels last night, in which former President Barack Obama was in attendance.
During the first possession of the game, Williamson, drove to his right, slipped on the floor, and exploded through his Nike shoe worn on his left foot.
Immediately grabbing his right knee, Williamson hobbled off the floor and did not return to the game for the rest of the evening.
Williamson was wearing Paul George’s signature PG 2.5’s in an exclusive Duke color way in last night’s game. Nike issued a statement after the game saying,
“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”
North Carolina immediately took advantage of Zion’s absence as they scored 32 of their first 34 points in the paint en route to the their 16 point win.
Coach K saying after the game,
“It put everyone in the position of having to figure it out, playing without him [Williamson], while playing a really good team. It’s not a good situation.
“At halftime the realization that he’s not there settled in. And we played horrible to start the second half. The final 16 minutes I thought we played really well, but it was too late.”
Coach K says that a timetable for Williamson’s return is unknown at this time.
Duke, who is in play for the #1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament, can ill afford to have Williamson out for an extended period, especially with the ACC Tournament fast approaching.
Williamson, who is projected to be the #1 pick in June’s NBA Draft, has averaged 22.4 points per game this season for Duke.
For Duke and Williamson this injury could not have come at a worse time.
Questions about whether or not Zion Williamson should return at all this season will dominate the immediate conversation given his projected draft status; especially if his injury is prolonged.
Duke returns to the floor on Saturday night vs #18 Syracuse.
Update: according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania: Williamson has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 right knee sprain and his status is day to day, with his return based on his healing progress.
Flip the pages to see Zion’s shoe explosion, reaction, and Coach K’s comments.