Zion Williamson Day-to-Day After Knee Injury Diagnosed as Grade 1 Sprain

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson sits on the floor following a injury during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke superstar freshman Zion Williamson suffered a Grade 1 knee sprain against the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday and is day-to-day, Duke announced Thursday

Williamson tried to pivot early in the first half, and his shoe burst. He slipped in the process and injured his right knee: 

When healthy, Williamson is arguably college basketball's top player. He is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in what is his first and almost certainly last collegiate campaign.

The phenom has been even better than advertised as a result of his efficiency on the offensive end and his ability to impact the game defensively with his rebounding and knack for coming up with big steals.

While the Blue Devils have a few other young stars, Williamson is the key to their success. After Zion got hurt in the UNC game, Duke looked directionless and lost by 16 on its home court.

Duke is dominant when fully healthy, but it has a significant depth problem and relies on a handful of players to do almost all of the scoring. Williamson is part of that group along with RJ Barrett (23.1 ppg) and Cam Reddish (14.3 ppg).

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski primarily looks to the rest of his roster to distribute the ball, rebound and do the little things needed to win. Provided Williamson sits out, the scoring burden will fall almost entirely on Barrett and Reddish.

Also, point guard Tre Jones may be looked upon to be more aggressive from a scoring perspective, as will center Marques Bolden and reserve forwards Jack White and Javin DeLaurier.

Duke is a supremely talented team with or without Williamson, but it is difficult to envision the Blue Devils contending for a national title if Zion isn't in the fold.

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