Zion Williamson has been out since injuring himself during the first minute of the Feb. 20 game against North Carolina. Blame shoddy shoe cobbling for that one. He was diagnosed as “day to day” with a Grade 1 knee strain but won’t play Tuesday night against Wake Forest. It’s the fourth consecutive contest missed.
And it’s also the one that should have Duke fans — or fans of transcendent college players — a bit worried. This is Williamson’s final game at Cameron Indoor, as he’ll be off to the NBA come spring. That he’s not on the court taking a curtain call might mean something.
Look, this may come off as overly pessimistic. Perhaps Williamson is not bound by mortal coils. Perhaps he’s capable of returning to the lineup and immediately dominating. Most players need a little runway to take off after an injury, especially explosive players with maladies impacting explosiveness. Most players aren’t Zion.
Yet … the bad thoughts … they are creeping in.
It’s understandable that Duke wouldn’t risk anything in the interest of a regular season ACC title — which they’re a longshot to even share at this point. Barring a major collapse down the stretch, the Blue Devils will be a No. 1 seed. And with a healthy Williamson, this is the team to beat no matter the seed.