Zion Williamson Rumors: Duke Optimistic Star Returns from Knee Injury Next Week

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) falls to the floor with an injury while chasing the ball with North Carolina's Luke Maye (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Duke Blue Devils superstar freshman Zion Williamson isn't expected to play in Saturday's road game against the Syracuse Orange, but he could return next week.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported Williamson, who suffered a knee injury when his shoe blew out in Wednesday's loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels, is already "up and moving around."

Duke faces the No. 20 Virginia Tech Hokies on Tuesday and the Miami Hurricanes next Saturday.

Williamson left the hyped clash with rival UNC less than a minute in. The Tar Heels took advantage of the Player of the Year favorite's absence to score a 88-72 victory and create a three-way tie atop with ACC standings with Duke and the Virginia Cavaliers.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio (via John Watson of 247Sports) there isn't an official timetable for the forward's return:

"I think that everyone wants to know his status, and it's still—we don't have a timetable, but the preliminary reports that we have on Zion's injury are all optimistic—very, very good. And the fact that it's a stable condition, a mild sprain, and we're going to do what everyone would do, and that's what's in the best interest of the young man. And Zion will get proper care. He's getting it today, as this moves along these next 24, 48 hours, we'll have a better feel for things, but there's no rush. You want to make sure he's completely at 100 percent."

Although there have been calls for Williamson, the likely No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, to sit out the remainder of the season to safeguard his future, there's been no indication he's considering that option.

The 18-year-old standout is averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks for the Blue Devils this season.

Duke has five games left in the regular season, which concludes with a rematch against UNC on March 9. The team's first game in the ACC tournament will likely be March 14 as a projected top-four seed, and the first round of the NCAA tournament kicks off March 21.

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