Another Blue Devil Goes Down

By Josh Herwitt - January 08, 2008


Mike Krzyzewski knew coming into this season that he wouldn't have a lot of depth when it came to his frontcourt.

But on Monday, the legendary Duke coach found out that his bench got even thinner when sophomore Brian Zoubek suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot during practice.

"This is a setback for Brian and for the team," Krzyzewski said. "He worked hard to recover from the injury over the summer and was beginning to solidify his role with the team. We have total confidence that Brian will recover from the injury and return as soon as he is physically able."

The 7-foot-1 center, who injured the foot back in July during a pickup game and was forced to miss 10 weeks due to surgery, had been leading the team in field-goal percentage at 59.5 percent with averages of 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. While Zoubek had only been averaging 11.7 minutes per game, he did get his first start Sunday night at home in an 81-67 victory over Cornell.

But for a team that lost forward Josh McRoberts to the NBA last season, the Blue Devils now must rely even more on 6-foot-8 freshman forward Kyle Singler, who ranks second on the team in scoring (13.4 ppg) and tied for first in rebounding (6.2 rpg) with senior guard DeMarcus Nelson.

And for Coach K, the injury couldn't have come at a worse time. Duke will play its final non-conference game of the season at Temple on Wednesday and then will begin its ACC slate Sunday night at home against Virginia (a game that yours truly will have the honor of witnessing courtside at Cameron Indoor Stadium).

Of course, the Blue Devils are already without junior Martynas Pocius, who underwent successful surgery on his left ankle today and will miss the rest of the season.

The native of Lithuania managed to play in only four games this season before suffering the injury against Eastern Kentucky, and it's not the first time that Pocius has had ankle surgery.

The 6-foot-4 guard, in fact, had a similar surgery on his right ankle at the conclusion of the 2006-07 season, but it was last summer playing in Lithuania where he originally injured the left one.

So with Zoubek and Pocius both out now, it'll be up to Krzyzewski to work around his lack of size down low and devise a game plan that can at least give his team a shot when it faces some of the ACC's best big men in Tyler Hansbrough, Trevor Booker and J.J. Hickson.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 02:38 PM on January 08, 2008
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