A day removed from Duke’s first loss of the season most Blue Devils fans sat down to watch football or perhaps the big basketball game of the day between Ohio State and Michigan not expecting to hear bad news.
Other than the highlights that would surely feature Duke’s first loss to No. 20 NC State most probably weren’t expecting to hear what came out of CBS College Basketball Analyst Seth Davis’ mouth. While talking about Duke’s loss he mentioned the fact that the Blue Devils were playing without Ryan Kelly, one of the teams best players.
None of that is news; Kelly hurt his foot in Duke’s game against Clemson and after an MRI Duke announced that Kelly would be out for anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks. Most have come to terms with that but what Davis ended up saying had Blue Devil fans’ jaws dropping. Davis indicated that Kelly’s injury was serious and that he could be out 2 to 6 weeks.
He also said that there was the possiblity that Duke was trying to have Kelly rest the injury and that there was a possibility that if the rest did not work that Kelly might opt to having surgery to prepare for the NBA Draft. Translation: Kelly’s season would be done and Duke’s national title hopes would be taking a significant blow because of that.
Davis didn’t indicate any additional sources for his statement and received numerous requests on Twitter to clarify what he meant. This is what he said via his Twitter account:
“For those asking my point about Ryan Kelly is I believe that this is a seroius injury. Not saying def(initely)out for the year but I think it’ll be a while,”
Duke fans are naturally in a state of panic over the news that they may have to see another year go by with one of its best players sidelined due to injury. The season had started out with so much promise seeing Duke beat Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State in the span of two weeks.
The Blue Devils headed into the new year and ACC play undefeated and there were some (not me and not Mike Krzyzewski) who were thinking or at least asking about whether this team could potentially go undefeated. Duke suffered an injury to Kelly at the end of last year that cost him the ACC Tournament and the one game of the NCAA Tournament.
It turned out after the season the injury was serious enough to require surgery. It is a frightening case of deja-vu for Blue Devil fans as the injury appears to be the same and if it is bad as Davis feel that it could be and it requires surgery then that leaves a lot of questions that Duke will have to answer.
Just because Duke might not have Kelly doesn’t mean they can’t continue to win or potentially compete for the national title, but it makes things much more difficult and the margin of error becomes incredibly thin.
The obvious hope is that Kelly returns by the end of the year and doesn’t require surgery that ends his season. However, in the event that Kelly doesn’t return Duke is going to need a few player to step up including Rasheed Sulaimon and potentially Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy.
For now Duke fans can only wait and hope and try not to panic too much but it is hard when you hear a national sports analyst declare before the world that a possibility that most fans had not considered might come to pass. Only time will tell if that happens.
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