Zion Williamson, Coach K Discuss Cam Reddish's Knee Injury After Sweet 16 Win

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Cam Reddish #2 of the Duke Blue Devils in action during a practice session ahead of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Capital One Arena on March 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Duke superstar forward Zion Williamson said he assured fellow Blue Devils standout freshman Cam Reddish the team wouldn't be disappointed if he sat out its Sweet 16 clash with Virginia Tech because of a knee injury.

"I talked to him before the game, and he was skeptical about whether he wanted to play," he told reporters. "I was like, 'If you can't go out there and play, you won't be letting us down.'"

Meanwhile, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski noted after the 75-73 victory over the Hokies the team was caught off guard by the late scratch of its third-leading scorer.

"We've prepared all week with that lineup," Coach K said. "And then, boom, right before the start of the game [Reddish] can't play."

Reddish tallied 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and a block in 32 minutes in the Blue Devils' win over UCF in the second round Sunday.

It's unclear when he suffered the knee injury and whether it's a serious setback. Krzyzewski didn't say whether the forward would be available for Sunday's Elite Eight matchup with Michigan State.

Alex O'Connell was thrust into the starting lineup to fill the void, and an already-limited Duke rotation was forced to use just six players for most of Friday's game.

Krzyzewski told reporters his team's ability to overcome adversity has become a defining trait.

"They've never backed down; they've never been afraid the whole year," he said. "And we played this amazing schedule. And the spotlight's on these kids from Day 1 to now. So to have that on them and still respond the way they do, it's really terrific for these kids."

Duke is a 1.5-point favorite over Michigan State (via Vegas Insider) amid Reddish's uncertain status.