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Zion Williamson Doubtful vs. UNC with Knee Injury; Decision After Shootaround

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 8, 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 forward Zion Williamson (knee) is doubtful for Saturday's game against North Carolina, Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to the game whether Zion plays or not," Krzyzewski said on Friday, per The Athletic's C.L. Brown. "Yesterday was a big day for him because he didn't think before he moved. ... We'll have our shootaround in the morning and then give final word after that. It'll be known by 11 a.m...Roy isn't going to be up all night wondering.

The 6'7", 285-pound freshman is the undisputed No. 1 men's college hoops player, averaging 21.6 points on 68.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.

According to Sports Reference, the 18-year-old also posted the best player efficiency rating by any player in the past 10 seasons. Williamson is in his own hemisphere in this realm, with former High Point forward John Brown second thanks to a 2015-16 mark of 36.93.

Williamson is in the midst of a tremendous season but has unfortunately experienced bad luck with injuries. He suffered a knee sprain on Feb. 20 against North Carolina after his shoe blew out and has missed the last four games. 

Naturally, replacing Williamson's immense production hasn't proved easy for the Blue Devils. Duke proceeded to lose the aforementioned UNC game by 16 points and has gone 3-1 without him in the lineup.

The Blue Devils have lost just two games (not including their first meeting with the Tar Heels) with Williamson in the lineup and are responsible for No. 2 Virginia's only two losses.

Sophomore guard Alex O'Connell has done quite well given the circumstances of replacing a superstar. The 6'6" sophomore dropped 20 points (5-of-8 from three-point range) at Syracuse en route to a 75-65 win and also scored 11 versus Miami.

But no one can replace Williamson's all-around game, as he's arguably the best player in the country on both ends. The 5-star recruit entered Duke with tremendous hype and has exceeded those expectations.