Duke's Cam Reddish Doesn't Play vs. Virginia Tech Because of Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 24: Cam Reddish #2 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates a three point basket against the UCF Knights during the first half in the second round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C.  Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Duke Blue Devils had to tweak their starting lineup for Friday's Sweet 16 game against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2019 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Shortly before tipoff, Duke announced Alex O'Connell was replacing Cam Reddish in the starting lineup. According to Stephen Wiseman of the Herald-Sun, Reddish is battling a knee injury. Stadium's Jeff Goodman noted it's his left knee. 

Reddish did not enter the game at all. 

When Duke and Virginia Tech played earlier this year, the Blue Devils were short-handed. Zion Williamson was out with a knee sprain, and his team fell 77-72 to the Hokies in his absence.

Williamson's knee injury exposed Duke's lack of depth across the entire roster. The Blue Devils are one of the most talented teams in the country when head coach Mike Krzyzewski has all of his stars available. Remove one of Williamson, Reddish or RJ Barrett, and the team becomes much more vulnerable.

That was the case again Friday night, as Virginia Tech pushed Duke to the brink.

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Reddish entered Friday averaging 13.6 points while shooting 35.8 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Although the 6'8" swingman hasn't met expectations in his freshman season, he has stepped up at opportune times. He shot 5-of-8 for 13 points in Duke's one-point win over the UCF Knights in the second round.

Losing Reddish's secondary scoring put even more pressure on Williamson and Barrett, which was less than ideal against the No. 19 team in adjusted defense, per KenPom.com.

Williamson led all scorers with 23 points in addition to six rebounds, three blocks and an assist on Friday night. Barrett chipped in 18 points, while freshman guard Tre Jones stepped up with 22 points and eight assists. 

The Blue Devils eked out a 75-73 win, and Reddish's status will be of even more importance as Duke heads to the Elite Eight to face No. 2 Michigan State.