Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski expects Zion Williamson back for start of ACC tournament

No. 4 Duke lost to rival North Carolina for the second time this season on Saturday. Once again, the Blue Devils were without the services of Zion Williamson. 

The superstar freshman missed his fifth consecutive game after suffering a bizarre injury when his shoe blew out in the first minute of Duke's game against UNC on Feb. 20. While Duke went just 3-2 down the stretch without Williamson, and lost another contributor Saturday as center Marques Bolden suffered a sprained MCL, the Blue Devils still have an optimistic outlook for the rest of March.

That's because Williamson sure sounds like he's going to be back for the postseason. 

"I think we'll get Zion back for Thursday," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after his team's loss to No. 3 North Carolina. Thursday will mark Duke's first game in the ACC tournament. 

"The way (Williamson) looks right now it's just a matter of getting in game shape," Coach K added. 

Krzyzewski says “I think we’ll get Zion back for Thursday. … The way he looks right now it’s just a matter of getting in game shape.” Says Zion has not had contact drills yet but will Monday.

Williamson will resume contact drills Monday, Krzyzewski said. 

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Krzyzewski's latest comments on Williamson are in line with what he said on Tuesday, and seem to indicate things are going in the right direction for his young star.

"I'd be surprised if (Williamson's) not ready by the ACC tournament," Krzyzewski said then.

Zion Williamson walks off the court after Duke's loss to North Carolina. (Photo: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Duke went 23-2 with a healthy Williamson, losing only to No. 1 Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational and to Syracuse in overtime. Should he return in mostly full health, the Blue Devils will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament. 

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