Duke’s Smith questionable for ACC Tournament semis

Graham Watson
The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

When Nolan Smith went down with an apparent toe injury late in Friday's 87-71 win over Maryland in the ACC quarterfinal, it was eerily reminiscent of Kyrie Irving's injury three months earlier.

With 6:48 remaining, Smith drove the lane and planted his left foot. When he tried to jump, he came up lame and fell to the court. Smith walked off the court under his own power, sat on the bench for awhile while doctors examined his toe and ultimately headed up the tunnel to the locker room. He returned to the bench to a standing ovation but did not return to the game.

The ACC Player of the Year was having a rough night anyway. He missed his first seven shots, was 2-of-10 from the field and left with just seven points.

Several hours after the Maryland game there was still no official word from Duke regarding the extent of the injury. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Smith was questionable for the semifinals and would have X-rays.

Sophomore guard Seth Curry stepped in for Smith and helped Duke into the semifinals. He finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and three assists.

Smith had moved to point guard in place of Irving, who suffered a right toe injury on Dec. 9 against Butler. Similar to Smith, Irving suffered the injury while driving to the basket. He also pulled up lame and hobbled to the bench. He hasn't played a minute since. {YSP:MORE}

Duke never gave an official name to Irving's injury, but both ligaments and bone were damaged.

However, Irving did participate in warmups with the team Friday, but he spent the game in khakis and a polo shirt at the end of the bench. Irving has missed 23 games, but the fact that he was in uniform and warmed up without incident gave fans some hope that he might not be lost for the entire season after all.

Matt Plizga, a Duke spokesman, told the News & Record that Irving was working out because practice time is limited during the postseason.

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