Zion Williamson out for UNC game | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / September 18.
  • Zion Williamson out for UNC game

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    **UPDATED 3/9**

    Zion Williamson is out for Saturday’s game at UNC, the school announced. It will be the fifth game he’s missed with the knee sprain.

    Williamson, who is second in the ACC in scoring (21.6), third in rebounding (8.8) and leads the conference in field goal percentage (.683) and steals (2.2), sustained the injury on February 20 versus UNC.

    The No. 4 Blue Devils (26-4, 14-3) battle the No. 3 Tar Heels (25-5, 15-2) tonight at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.



    Zion Williamson is doubtful for Saturday night’s game at North Carolina but a final decision will be made closer to gametime, head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Friday.

    “Zion had his first really good workout yesterday, but without contact,” Coach K said. “He looked really good. I haven’t seen him today, but we will see how he is. He will have no contact again today. I would say he’s doubtful for tomorrow but we’ll put it out tomorrow.”

    Coach K expects Williamson back for the ACC Tournament next week.

    “The way he’s going, he won’t be doubtful for the tournament,” he said. “Yesterday was pretty exciting, really, to see him move and have confidence in his movements. Now we have to get him into conditioning and have him do some work with contact. He can do all those things when there isn’t contact but when there is, you do things a bit different. We’re on a really good trend here and I’m excited about it. He’s worked hard. Nick Potter, Jose (Fonseca) and our medical people have done a great job at rehabbing him.”

    The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson has missed four games after spraining his knee Feb. 20 against North Carolina. If Duke doesn’t face UNC in the ACC Tournament, he will go his whole career without playing against Duke’s top rival, as ESPN’s Jason Williams point out.

    Williamson is the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, and the Knicks currently own the NBA’s worst record. The Knicks, Suns and Cavaliers all have a 14 percent to land him at the moment.

    R.J. Barrett said the team has drawn energy from Williamson’s return to practice.

    “Having him back and practicing a little bit was great,” he said. “Seeing him on the court again definitely gave us some energy.”

    “Zion is terrific,” Coach K said. “You’ve seen it in the locker room and everywhere … he’s so upbeat. He’s so team oriented and I think it bothers him that he hasn’t been with us but we can’t let him push the process too much where his loyalty to the team goes against the way he comes back the way he should. Yesterday was a big day for him because he didn’t think before he moved. He would do something and say, ‘oh yeah, I remember my body can do that’. It was uplifting for the guys too but we have to make sure. We’ll know more after today and then we’ll have our shoot around in the morning so it’ll probably be out around 11.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.