Photo by Chase Olivieri/The Chronicle
ATLANTA -- When Nolan Smith went running into the padded base of the basket in Friday's Duke win over Boston College, he had one thing on his mind.
"Hands first," Smith said. "I made sure to get my hands out."
Smith, playing in his first game since suffering a mild concussion Feb. 25 at Maryland, contributed 18 minutes and a 3-pointer in the Blue Devils' win. He was the first player off the bench, replacing Gerald Henderson in the first minute, and said he felt fine after the game.
The sophomore admitted that he would have been back in the lineup earlier, but he sustained a "minor setback" last week. When he was working out, his concussion-induced headaches came back and got worse, so he was forced to the sideline for Duke's Sunday loss to North Carolina.
Smith hadn't suited up since Duke's Feb. 25 win at Maryland, when he ran into a blind screen from Maryland's Dave Neal around midcourt. Smith fell to the floor and didn't return that game, or the next three. Smith, who said that he has watched a replay of the injury, will get a chance to see Neal and the Terrapins again Saturday at 3:30 p.m., but the Baltimore native insisted there was no bad blood between him and Gary Williams' squad.
"Me and Dave Neal are cool. He's a good guy, and I know he had no intention of hurting me," Smith said. "It's just going to be another Duke-Maryland game.... I'll have a chip on my shoulder like I always do when we play against them."
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