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On Tuesday, the Duke basketball program announced that freshman small forward Dariq Whitehead, an anticipated centerpiece, suffered a fracture in his right foot during a team workout on Monday, underwent surgery the next day, and is already rehabbing, intending to play in the fall.

But the fall technically lasts three months, not ending until Dec. 20.

So based on this understandably vague timeline, it's conceivable that Whitehead, the reigning McDonald's All-American Game MVP and Naismith High School Player of the Year, could miss most or all of the team's non-conference slate.

On the other hand, the 6-foot-6, 190-pound projected 2023 lottery pick could return to practice in October, perhaps even weeks ahead of Duke's season opener on Nov. 7 at home against Jacksonville.

A perseverant outlook from the Duke basketball newbie

Shortly after the program broke the news, Whitehead tweeted a promise to his followers. He didn't specify when he'd be 100 percent healthy and back on the court, only that he "will be back soon stronger and better than ever":

Dariq Whitehead, a New Jersey native and long-time Duke basketball fan who spent his entire prep career at powerhouse Montverde Academy (Fla.), finished No. 2 overall on the 247Sports 2022 Composite.

RELATED: Envisioning Duke's most lethal 2022-23 lineup

He is part of first-year head coach Jon Scheyer's inaugural recruiting class, a seven-deep bunch that wound up as the nation's No. 1 haul. It features two more top-five prospects in 7-footer Dereck Lively II (No. 1) and big man Kyle Filipowski (No. 4).

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