Zion Williamson Ruled Out vs. UNC After Tearing Shoe, Suffering Knee Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2019

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 20: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils warms up prior to their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Duke Blue Devils freshman Zion Williamson suffered a knee injury in the first minute of Wednesday's game against the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the team announced he was ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

He went down with the injury after his left shoe ripped as he planted with the ball. He immediately grabbed the back of his knee as he fell to the floor:

After the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Williamson had a mild knee sprain. He said the big man's knee was "stable," although he noted the team wouldn't have a timeline for his return until Thursday.

Twitter user CJ Fogler shared a picture of Williamson's blown-out shoe:

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James weighed in on the injury:

Even former President Barack Obama sent his sympathy to the superstar:

Although Williamson headed to the locker room under his own power, he was walking with a notable limp on his way. Adam Rowe of 247Sports noted Williamson's stepfather and mother went to the locker room, which he called "not a good sign."

Any long-term injury to Williamson would be a severe blow to Duke's national championship hopes, as the presumed No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft is one of the best college basketball players in years. Entering Wednesday, he was averaging 22.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game this season while shooting 68.3 percent from the field.

The Blue Devils are not in action again until Saturday against the Syracuse Orange, so Williamson will have a few days to recover before he has to miss any time.

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