Duke’s Zion Williamson Sprains Knee in Loss to North CarolinaBy David A.
Duke’s sensational freshman Zion Williamson was injured just 36 seconds into the Blue Devils game on Wednesday. He did not return to the match against ACC rival North Carolina. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called the injury a mild knee sprain.
Zion Williamson grabbed for his right knee after slipping and falling awkwardly when his basketball shoe came apart.
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The rubber sole of Williamson’s sneaker ripped loose from the toes to the heel on the outside edge and Zion’s foot came throw the hole that was made.
Williamson left the court limping slightly but without the help of trainers and entered the locker room unassisted.
Following the game, which Duke lost 88-72, Coach K said Williamson sprained the knee. He added that a timetable would be established for the player’s return to action on Thursday.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama was in attendance sitting close to the baseline and Duke’s bench and could be seen shouting encouragement to Williamson as the player left the court.
Duke has a contract with Nike which is an exclusive supplier of apparel including uniforms and sneakers. The current contract is for 12 years with eight remaining. Nike has held an exclusive deal with Duke dating back to 1992.
Duke appeared out of sync without Williamson while at the same time North Carolina used the absence of Zion to its advantage outscoring Duke in the paint 62-28. The Tar Heels lead at one time grew to 22 during the second half, before holding on to win by 16.
Duke will play Saturday on the road against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.