DURHAM, NC – Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson was forced out of Wednesday’s match against rival North Carolina after just 36 seconds with which Blue Devils coach Mike Kzryzewski called “mild knee training”.
After Duke Star Zion Williamson left Wednesday’s match against North Carolina with an obvious knee injury, Caesars Palace extended the Blue Devils odds of winning the national title from +200 to +250.
Duke’s Zion Williamson left the game with an obvious knee injury after breaking his left shoe and NBA players responded to social media.
Williamson grabbed his right knee in pain after slipping uncomfortably and falling when his left Nike basketball shoe fell apart when he planted hard while dribbling near the free kick on the opening game. The blue rubber sole was torn away from the white forest from the heel to the toes along the outer edge, with Williamson’s foot coming all the way through the big gap.
He went off with a little fluff but under his own power before he returned to the changing room without any shoes on his feet.
After the match, a 88-72 Blue Devils loss, Kzryzewski, said that Williamson’s knee was stable and that a timetable for his return would be decided Thursday.
Former President Barack Obama, who sat along the baseline near the Duke’s bench, called for Williamson when he left the court.
Duke freshman standout Zion Williamson seemed to hurt his right knee when his left Nike shoe came apart. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
Williamson wore Nike PG 2.5, Thunder star Paul George’s signature shoe from the fall, in a Duke’s exclusive color path.
Duke is four years in a 12-year deal with Nike as the exclusive supplier of uniforms, shoes and clothing. The private school did not disclose the terms of the contract supplement for 2015. Nike has had an exclusive deal with the university since 1992.
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Messages to Nike were not returned immediately.
Williamson, ACC’s next score of 22.4 points per game, has established itself as probably the most exciting college basketball player with its range of dunks and one-of-a-generation athleticism.
Duke next plays Saturday at No. 18 Syracuse (6 pm ET on ESPN).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.