Duke star and nationwide participant of the yr candidate Zion Williamson suffered a knee damage on Wednesday evening after his left Nike shoe got here aside.
With solely 36 seconds performed within the Blue Devils’ 88-72 dwelling loss in opposition to North Carolina, the freshman planted his foot down simply contained in the arc to dribble, just for the only real to be virtually fully ripped away from the remainder of the shoe.
Williamson limped off clutching his proper knee and didn’t return for the evening. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski later described the damage as a gentle knee sprain.
The influence of Williamson’s freakish damage prolonged means past the world of school basketball, given the 18-year-old has emerged as one of the vital thrilling prospects in years and is nearly assured to be the primary total decide of the 2019 NBA draft.
Former President Barack Obama, an enormous basketball fan, was in attendance on Wednesday evening and took to Twitter to want Williamson a speedy restoration.
Puma, in the meantime, used the damage to have a dig at Nike, suggesting the Duke freshman would haven’t suffered the same destiny had he been carrying a special model of footwear. The tweet was ultimately deleted, however not earlier than he was display grabbed by some eagle-eyed customers.
LeBron James was simply one of many many NBA stars who wished Williamson a speedy restoration, whereas Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell highlighted the unfairness of the NCAA system the place gamers don’t receives a commission however can endure probably career-defining accidents.
ESPN analysts Mark Jones and Adam Schefter each advised it could be in Williamson’s greatest curiosity to sit down out the rest of the season to keep away from different accidents, which may jeopardize a profitable NBA contract.
Williamson is a primary total decide in ready and the sight of him clutching his knee would have despatched shivers down the backbone of the final managers of the groups within the draft lottery. The teenager has beforehand indicated he want to play at Madison Square Garden and New Orleans Saints vast receiver Dez Bryant advised the following time Williamson steps on a court docket he’ll do in a Knicks jersey.
Former NBA star Carlos Boozer, in the meantime, additionally wished Williamson a speedy restoration. Except that as a substitute of tagging the Duke freshman within the tweet, Boozer tagged Zion National Park, which is situated close to Springdale in southwestern Utah.
The park duly accepted the surprising publicity.
Duke mentioned extra particulars on the extent of Williamson’s damage and a timeline for his restoration will probably be disclosed on Thursday.
Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after falling as his shoe breaks in opposition to Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels throughout their recreation at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20 in Durham, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images