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Duke guidelines Zion out in opposition to North Carolina

Duke star Zion Williamson is not going to play in Saturday’s regular-season finale in opposition to No. Three North Carolina, the varsity introduced.

Regardless of what coach Mike Krzyzewski termed “a extremely good exercise” by the freshman on Thursday, Williamson will miss his fifth sport as he continues to get better from a sprained proper knee, which he suffered within the opening minute of final month’s loss to the Tar Heels.

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Both Duke or UNC will lose on Saturday, however the metrics inform us each groups nonetheless deserve a No. 1 seed come Choice Sunday.

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Krzyzewski had prompt all week it was unlikely Williamson would see the court docket, regardless of his returning to apply this week and exhibiting actual progress. Krzyzewski, nevertheless, mentioned Friday that he would “be shocked if [Williamson] would not play within the ACC event.”

Duke (26-Four, 14-Three ACC) is Three-2 within the almost 5 full video games with out Williamson, who’s averaging 21.6 factors and eight.eight rebounds as he is made himself a candidate to be nationwide participant of the 12 months and the No. 1 general NBA draft decide.

Williamson suffered the knee damage when his sneaker break up throughout Duke’s first matchup in opposition to the Tar Heels final month. The damage occurred on the Blue Devils’ first possession of the sport, and UNC went on to a straightforward win.

Duke dropped a sport at Virginia Tech the next week and squeaked by last-place Wake Forest by only a level on Tuesday with out Williamson within the lineup.

Krzyzewski famous that Williamson’s damage, which adopted a shoulder damage to Tre Jones and an sickness from Cam Reddish earlier this 12 months, means Duke could have performed simply 9 of 18 ACC video games with its full lineup of starters.

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Duke is presently projected as a No. 1 seed within the ACC event, and Krzyzewski mentioned he isn’t involved about how current struggles with out Williamson would possibly have an effect on seeding.

“Taking part in with not a full deck has been very tough,” Krzyzewski mentioned. “However I am not going out politicking.”

UNC coach Roy Williams on Thursday mentioned the Tar Heels (25-5, 15-2) have been getting ready as if Williamson would play, however “why fear about that a part of it?”

The Related Press contributed to this report.


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