Projected No. 1 NBA draft pick and Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson will reportedly miss his first college game.
Williamson, who suffered a Grade 1 knee sprain 36 seconds into Wednesday's game against North Carolina when he slipped and blew through his shoe, will not play in Saturday's Duke-Syracuse matchup, according to Stadium's Jeff Goodman.
Duke's medical staff diagnosed Williamson with a mild sprain on Thursday and ruled him day-to-day.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson, who has wowed even LeBron James with his electrifying dunks and stunning blocks, is considered one of the top draft-eligible prospects in college, and many people, from the Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, have suggested it would be best for Williamson to shut himself down to prepare for the next level.
However, Williamson has said in the past he wants to play for Duke as long as he's healthy.
"I can't just stop playing," Williamson said in mid-January, according to Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde. "I'd be letting my teammates down. I'd be letting [coach Mike Krzyzewski] down. I'd be letting a lot of people down. ... If I was going to sit out, I wouldn't have gone to college. I'm thankful that Coach K gave me the opportunity."
The 18-year-old Williamson has averaged 21.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the top-ranked Blue Devils, who also boast freshmen R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish, two other players who are projected to be top-five draft picks in June.
Duke, which lost to Syracuse 95-91 in overtime on Jan. 14, lost to the No. 8 Tar Heels 88-72 at home on Wednesday without Williamson. Duke was outshot 50.7 percent to 34.7 percent, outrebounded 46-41 and committed 20 turnovers to nine assists in suffering its third loss of the year.
When Duke played Syracuse last month, Williamson scored a game-high 35 points and brought down 10 rebounds.