Duke freshman Zion Williamson will make his long-awaited return from his knee injury on Thursday as the Blue Devils open up play vs. Syracuse at 9 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Williamson missed all of the last five games recovering from a Grade 1 mild right knee sprain he sustained on Feb. 20 in the opening minute against rival North Carolina.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has anticipated Williamson would return for the first game of the postseason. Krzyzewski earlier this week said it was likely he would play in the ACC Tournament, given the trajectory of his rehab and where he stood from a physical standpoint.
“The way he looks right now it’s just a matter of getting in game shape,” he said after Duke fell to North Carolina on Saturday.
Williamson’s return will be a welcome one for the Blue Devils, who have gone 3-2 in games he’s not played during his recovery. He’s averaging 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists for Duke on the season, and if he returns to form, will likely resume his place as the frontrunner to win National Player of the Year in college basketball.