Duke freshman Cam Reddish did not play in Friday night’s Sweet 16 win over Virginia Tech due to what the program called a left leg injury.
Reddish’s absence was announced shortly before tipoff. And according to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, even he didn’t know until then that Reddish would be out.
“We didn’t know until right before the game that he was not gonna be able to play,” Coach K said after Duke’s 75-73 victory. “He went out, just had something wrong with his knee. He’s limping.
“We’ve prepared all week with that lineup,” Krzyzewski continued, referring to a five-man group that included Reddish. “And then, boom, right before the start of the game, he can’t play.”
When asked whether he had any idea about Reddish’s status moving forward, Krzyzewski responded with one word: “No.”
Alex O’Connell, who did not play a single minute in Duke’s second-round victory over UCF, started in Reddish’s place on Friday. He scored four points. Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Tre Jones combined for 63 of Duke’s 75.
“Alex did a tremendous job,” Krzyzewski said postgame, pointing out O’Connell’s team-leading seven defensive rebounds. But the sophomore sharpshooter went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Reddish, meanwhile, was in uniform and on the Duke bench, but didn’t do much during warmups and was unavailable.
It’s unclear when or how Reddish suffered the injury. He had been listed as a starter on program press releases leading into the game.
Reddish played 32 minutes in the second-round win over UCF, and would have played more if not for foul trouble. He hit a huge late 3-pointer – three of his 13 points.
Of Duke’s four star freshman, Reddish might be the least impactful. He averages 13.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. But he’s the best shooter of the four, and an important – albeit inconsistent – player for the Blue Devils.
Reddish, given Krzyzewski’s answer at his postgame news conference, is presumably questionable for Sunday’s Elite Eight showdown with No. 2 seed Michigan State.
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