Just when Duke was getting back to full strength, the men’s basketball team was dealt another blow.
Point guard Sean Dockery is out indefinitely with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
The junior injured his knee Wednesday in the team’s win at Georgia Tech when he collided with Reggie Love while chasing Jarrett Jack through a screen.
“It’s the kind of season we’ve been having so far,” Shelden Williams said. “It seems like we can’t get everyone on the same page for an extended period of time.”
Dockery, one of the team’s best defenders, has averaged more than 27 minutes per game, scoring nearly seven points and handing out 2.3 assists per contest.
The Chicago native is also shooting the best percentages of his career—48 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line.
“We feel badly for Sean,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He was having a great year for us and was an integral part of the success we’ve enjoyed so far. He is one of our fighters.”
With Dockery out, the ball-handling responsibilities shift further to senior Daniel Ewing and freshman DeMarcus Nelson, who had been injured at the start of the season. Nelson will likely pick up many of Dockery’s minutes.
Love, who missed the first half of the ACC season, is healthy again after breaking his foot Jan. 2. Freshman David McClure, who returned to action after sitting out four weeks with a knee injury, played two minutes Wednesday night and is still getting back into game shape.
Although the Blue Devils are fortunate that these two players have returned, Dockery’s absence will leave Duke with a short bench at the once relatively deep guard position.
Ewing and Dockery had been sharing much of the ball handling responsibilities, with Nelson filling in at times. As the game against the Yellow Jackets proved, however, if Ewing and Nelson get into foul trouble there are no other regular players to turn to.
“I have to do a lot more,” Ewing said. “I have to understand how to play the game better. Obviously we can’t get in foul trouble now. I have to be careful when I’m out there—play the game real smart and be sharp.”
Walk-on Patrick Davidson earned brief playing time Wednesday, but it was obvious that Duke was vulnerable bringing the ball up during this time.
Although Redick has become a much more capable dribbler in his junior season, he still is not reliable enough to fill the point guard role. Davidson, similarly, has his issues handling pressure and has the tendency to pick his dribble up too easily—a problem he will likely deal with until he becomes more confident.
“They said he could be out for a couple of weeks, but [Dockery’s return] depends on how well we play,” Ewing said. “If we take care of business in the first rounds of the NCAA Tournament, then hopefully we’ll have him back.”
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