Zion Williamson injured during Duke-UNC game after foot blows through shoe

Zion Williamson injured as Duke falls to North Carolina

Check out photos from UNC's win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2019.
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Check out photos from UNC's win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC Wednesday night, Feb. 20, 2019.

Duke star freshman Zion Williamson injured his right knee early in the Blue Devils’ 88-72 loss to UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday when his Nike shoe blew out and he fell to the court.

He did not return to the game. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Williamson has a mild knee sprain but the joint is stable. That’s an indication that no ligaments are torn. Krzyzewski said there is no timetable for Williamson’s return.

“We’re very concerned about Zion,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s a mild knee sprain. We will know about length of time (Thursday). It’s stable. Obviously it has an impact. You lose a national player of the year candidate on the first play.”

Duke plays at Syracuse on Saturday.

Duke’s RJ Barrett, Williamson’s roommate and the team’s leading scorer, said after the game he had already talked with Williamson.

“I hope he’s going to be ok,” Barrett said. “We don’t really know where things are right now but we think he’ll be back. He’s feeling not great right now. I’m praying for him. I hope he gets better quick.”

Duke freshman RJ Barrett spoke to his injured teammate and roommate, Zion Williamson, after Duke's 88-72 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Williamson has a sprained knee.

Against the Tar Heels, Williamson grabbed his right knee after slipping to the court with 19:24 left in the first half. He walked slowly back to the bench, carrying his shredded shoe, before proceeding to the locker room.

The 6-7 freshman averages 22.4 points per game.

Williamson had started, all 26 games for the Blue Devils, and was coming off a 32-point, six-rebound performance against N.C. State on Saturday.

Star freshman Zion Williamson is injured in opening moments and doesn't return as UNC wins 88-72

He has been widely considered the likely top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Some early reaction:

Staff writer Steve Wiseman contributed to this report.

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