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Duke loses Zion Williamson to delicate knee sprain when shoe blows out

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson was compelled out of Wednesday evening’s sport in opposition to rival North Carolina after simply 36 seconds with what Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski known as a “delicate knee sprain.”

After Duke star Zion Williamson left Wednesday’s sport in opposition to North Carolina with an obvious knee harm, Caesars Palace lengthened the Blue Devils’ odds of profitable the nationwide title from +200 to +250.

Duke’s Zion Williamson left the sport with an obvious knee harm after breaking his left shoe and NBA gamers reacted on social media.

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Williamson grabbed his proper knee in ache after slipping awkwardly and falling when his left Nike basketball shoe fell aside as he planted onerous whereas dribbling close to the free throw line on the opening play. The blue rubber sole ripped unfastened from the white shoe from the heel to the toes alongside the surface edge, with Williamson’s foot coming throughout the massive hole.

He walked off with a slight limp however below his personal energy earlier than heading again to the locker room with no sneakers on his toes.

“I used to be proper there and I did not actually see what occurred,” stated fellow Duke freshman Tre Jones, who was subsequent to Williamson on the court docket on the time of the harm. “I simply thought he’d twisted his ankle or his knee. However when he took his sneakers off, I believed possibly one thing else was happening.”

After the sport, an 88-72 Blue Devils loss, Krzyzewski stated that Williamson’s knee was steady and that a timetable for his return could be decided Thursday.

Former President Barack Obama, sitting alongside the baseline close to the Duke bench, shouted out encouragement to Williamson as he left the court docket.

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Mike Krzyzewski does not know the timetable after Zion Williamson’s knee harm and laments shedding one other massive participant early in a Duke loss.

Williamson was carrying the Nike PG 2.5, Thunder star Paul George’s signature shoe from the autumn, in a Duke unique colorway.

Duke is 4 years right into a 12-year take care of Nike because the unique provider of uniforms, sneakers and attire. The non-public college did not disclose phrases of the 2015 contract extension. Nike has had an unique take care of the college since 1992.

“We’re clearly involved and wish to want Zion a speedy restoration,” Nike stated in an announcement. “The standard and efficiency of our merchandise are of utmost significance. Whereas that is an remoted incidence, we’re working to determine the problem.”

Duke seemed misplaced with out Williamson. In the meantime, North Carolina took benefit of the Zion-sized gap within the lane, scoring 32 of its first 34 factors within the paint and ending with a 62-28 scoring benefit there. The Tar Heels by no means trailed, pushed their result in 22 with about 16 minutes left and held on.

An all-access collection documenting the Blue Devils’ preparation for the 2018-19 season, solely on ESPN+. Watch on ESPN+

“It put everybody within the place of getting to determine it out, enjoying with out him, whereas enjoying a extremely good workforce. It isn’t a very good state of affairs,” Krzyzewski stated. “At halftime the conclusion that he isn’t there settled in. And we performed horrible to start out the second half. The ultimate 16 minutes I believed we performed rather well, nevertheless it was too late.”

Williamson, the ACC’s second-leading scorer at 22.four factors per sport, has established himself as arguably probably the most thrilling participant in faculty basketball along with his array of dunks and once-in-a-generation athleticism.

“It was the primary time we have not performed with him all season,” stated Duke freshman ahead Cam Reddish. “We miss him as a participant, nevertheless it’s not simply that. He’s additionally the supply of our power. So, with out him on the ground, that power is lacking. We’ve got to be again within the gymnasium tomorrow, determining find out how to discover that power whereas he’s gone. Nonetheless lengthy that’s going to be.”

Duke subsequent performs Saturday at No. 18 Syracuse (6 p.m. ET on ESPN).

ESPN’s Nick DePaula and The Related Press contributed to this report.


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