Nobody foresaw Duke basketball being as good as it has been this year. With their dominating 28-point dismantlement of Clemson, the Blue Devils picked up their 15th win of the season on Tuesday.
That victory came with a price, though.
Starting forward Ryan Kelly suffered an unspecified foot injury during the outing, and according to the team’s Twitter account, will be sidelined indefinitely.
Kelly scored 12 points in the first half against Clemson; unfortunately, he then proceeded to sit out the entire second half.
Ryan Kelly is sidelined indefinitely with right foot injury. Avg. 14.4 points and shot 67.7 pct from 3pt range in Duke's previous 9 games— Duke Men's Hoops (@Duke_MBB) January 9, 2013
“We feel very badly for Ryan,” said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “He is playing the best basketball of his career and this is a tough setback for him. We’re hoping for a good recovery and we are optimistic about his return.”
You will recall, Kelly ended up missing Duke’s admittedly brief March Madness run last year due to a foot injury, too. The same foot injury. And while being without Kelly for any period of time is terrible for Duke just because of his sheer impact and the team’s thin bench, the timing of it is particularly irritating. The Blue Devils will take on North Carolina State (13-2) this Saturday.
Thus far this season Kelly was averaging 13 points and shooting over 52 percent from behind the arc. He was also on something of a hot streak that might have elevated those totals noticeably when he went down, but obviously that doesn’t really matter anymore.
Duke has been surprisingly strong so far against really good competition. That being said, there is still a lot of time left between now and the Big Dance. How you finish is far more important than how you start. If the Blue Devils are forced to play an extended amount of time sans their talented forward, teams will almost assuredly start capitalizing on their lack of depth.
Stay tuned, Duke fans – things are about to get interesting.
(Kudos Duke, USA Today)