Freshman forward Zion Williamson has officially been ruled out for No. 4 Duke's rivalry game rematch against No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday night, the team announced that morning.
Williamson has not played since suffering a Grade 1 right knee sprain on Feb. 20 during the Blue Devils' first clash against the Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor. He sustained the knee injury just 30 seconds into the game when he lost possession of the ball and slipped, causing him to rip through his shoe. Duke listed Williamson as day-to-day the next day. The star freshman has not played since.
The injury sparked debate over whether or not the 285-pound forward and potential No. 1 pick should sit out the remainder of the season, but the program has made every indication that Williamson will return once healthy.
Krzyzewski said Tuesday that he didn't know if Williamson would be ready to play in Saturday's rematch of the rivalry game, adding that his 6'7" star had made progress during the week but the team was still unsure of a timeline for return. Coach K did say he was optimistic about Williamson at least being ready for the ACC tournament which begins on Tuesday, March 12.
"He had his first really good workout yesterday but not contact," Krzyzewski said, per The News & Observer. "He looked really good. He’ll have no contact again today. I would say he’s doubtful for tomorrow. But we’ll put it out tomorrow. We’re on a real good trend here. I’m excited about it."
In 26 games this season, Williamson averaged 21.6 points–making him the team's second-leading scorer–in addition to 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists. In The Crossover's Jeremy Woo's latest mock draft, Williamson is projected to be the No. 1 pick this year. Woo also ranked Williamson as the top overall prospect in his latest big board.
Duke has gone 3–1 so far in Williamon's absence.