Zion Williamson, widely predicted to be the No 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, suffered a knee sprain while playing for Duke against their college rivals North Carolina.
Freshman sensation Williamson was knocked out of the rivalry game with a knee sprain after his Nike shoe blew out during the top-ranked Blue Devils’ opening possession on Wednesday night.
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While describing the sprain as mild and the knee as stable, coach Mike Krzyzewski said he doesn’t know how much time Williamson will miss.
Williamson grabbed his right knee in pain after slipping awkwardly and falling when his left shoe fell apart as he planted hard while dribbling near the free throw line. The blue rubber sole ripped loose from the white shoe from the heel to the toes along the outside edge, with Williamson’s foot coming all the way through the large gap.
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Nike said in a statement that it was “concerned” and wished Williamson a speedy recovery, saying they were “working to identify the issue”.
Williamson's shoe blew out as he was attacking against North Carolina
Williamson, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s second-leading scorer at 22.4 points per game and arguably the most exciting player in college basketball, walked off with a slight limp but under his own power before heading back to the locker room with no shoes on his feet.
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No 8-ranked North Carolina took advantage of Williamson’s absence to beat the Blue Devils 88-72.
Duke is four years into a 12-year deal with Nike as the exclusive supplier of uniforms, shoes and apparel. The private school didn’t disclose terms of the 2015 contract extension.
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Nike has had an exclusive deal with the university since 1992.
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