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Zion Williamson sprains right knee after blowing out his shoe

SB Nation logo SB Nation 2/21/2019 Ricky O'Donnell
a basketball player with a crowd watching © Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The first meeting of Duke and North Carolina this season got off to a rough start when Zion Williamson was taken out of the game in the opening minute with a knee injury. As Williamson drove the ball into the teeth of the Tar Heel defense, his left foot busted out of his shoe and he went down clutching his right knee.

Williamson did not return. Here’s a look at the play, which happened just 33 seconds into the game.

“He broke his shoe with his own foot,” said ESPN broadcaster Dan Shulman.

Williamson was taken to the locker room to be evaluated under his own power.

“We’re very concerned about Zion. It’s a mild knee sprain. We will know about length of time tomorrow. It’s stable,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. “Obviously it has an impact. You lose the National Player of the Year on the first play.”

This is what Williamson’s shoe looked like after the play:

a blue and white umbrella © ESPN
a pair of feet in shoes © Getty Images

Early in the game, any hope that Williamson might return was quickly squashed.

From pre-game:

Williamson, the likely No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, on the season is averaging 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds, shooting 68 percent from the field.

At the start of the second half, Maria Taylor on ESPN said on Williamson, “He’s in the back still in the training room with his family, watching on TV. I’m told he did not go into the locker room [at halftime] as the rest of the team went in to hear from Coach K.”

North Carolina prevailed in the game, winning 88-72 at Duke.

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