The Duke Blue Devils announced superstar freshman Zion Williamson will return for Thursday's ACC tournament opener against Syracuse after he suffered a mild knee sprain against the rival North Carolina Tar Heels on Feb. 20.
Williamson is having a monster debut campaign with Duke. He's averaged 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks while shooting 68.3 percent from the field. The star-studded Blue Devils posted a 3-2 record while he recovered from the knee injury.
The 18-year-old likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft had remained durable at the college level before the knee sprain, which came when his shoe blew out in the opening minute against UNC. He suffered foot and thumb injuries during his senior year at Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina.
Duke probably won't lean too heavily on Williamson in his first game back. Javin DeLaurier and Antonio Vrankovic figure to pick up any of the extra playing time in the frontcourt.
That said, the forward should be back firing on all cylinders in time for the NCAA tournament barring any setbacks. The Blue Devils are a championship contender largely because of his game-changing ability.