After effectively missing the last six games of the regular season, Zion Williamson is back. The presumed favorite to be selected No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft will suit up for the Duke Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament tilt against the Syracuse Orange on Thursday night, according to the program’s official Twitter account.
Williamson suffered a sprained left knee during the opening minute of Duke’s loss to North Carolina on Feb. 20 after losing his footing and exploding out of his right sneaker. The injury gained a ton of attention, as the Blue Devils, then the No. 1 team in America, went on to get run out of their gym by their Tobacco Road rivals, 88-72.
While Williamson managed to avoid a more serious injury, Duke decided to keep Williamson out of the final five games of the regular season so he could recover from the injury. The Blue Devils went 3-2 over that stretch with road losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina. While it was expected that Williamson would be good to go once the team began ACC Tournament play, nothing was official until Duke’s announcement on Thursday.
The Blue Devils were able to take down Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in their first game after Williamson’s injury, picking up a 75-65 win over the Orange behind a Herculean effort from R.J. Barrett. Still, getting Williamson back is huge for the team’s ACC and NCAA Tournament hopes. Should the Blue Devils take down Syracuse on Thursday, a semifinal showdown against either Louisville or North Carolina looms on Friday evening.