Trevor Keels ruled out for Duke’s game against Syracuse

·3 min read
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski holds the hand of injured guard Trevor Keels during the second half half of the tema’s NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday Jan. 18, 2022. Florida State won 79-78 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

After injuring his right leg earlier this week, freshman guard Trevor Keels will not play for No. 6 Duke on Saturday against Syracuse.

Duke announced in Friday that Keels’ status was doubtful for the game.

On Saturday morning, Keels did not participate in pregame warmups, instead standing on the side of the court in street clothes.

The freshman guard suffered what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said was a calf injury when Florida State beat the Blue Devils, 79-78, in overtime on Tuesday night in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to play Syracuse at noon Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The 6-5, 221-pound Keels has started all 17 games for Duke (14-3, 4-2 ACC) this season, averaging 11.9 points per game. He’s second on the team in assists at 54 (3.2 per game).

Keels suffered the injury with 10:11 to play in the second half of Duke’s game at Florida State Tuesday night. His right leg was caught under him as he landed on the court in a pileup of players after Keels was called for a foul on Florida State’s Jalen Warley.

Krzyzewski and Jose Fonseca, Duke’s head basketball athletic trainer, tended to Keels as he writhed in pain on the court. Two of Keels’ teammates helped him to the bench as he initially did not bear weight on his right leg. But Keels did eventually put some weight on the leg as he walked gingerly, with assistance, the final steps to Duke’s bench. He did not return to game.

After the game, Keels walked under his own power while accompanying the team on its charter flight back home. The evaluation of his injury continued Wednesday and Thursday.

With Keels unavailable for the latter portion of the game at Florida State, sophomore guard Jeremy Roach picked up the minutes. Roach played 29 minutes against the Seminoles, collecting six assists with one turnover. So if Keels is limited or out against the Orange, expect Roach to play a key role in Duke’s adjustments.

Senior reserve forward Joey Baker, a team co-captain along with junior Wendell Moore, played 19 minutes against Florida State. That’s the most minutes he’s seen in any ACC game this season. He said the Blue Devils are prepared to band together and overcome if Keels is out.

“It’s something that I’ve noticed since I’ve been here – all the Duke teams — they’re able to dig deep,” Baker said following practice on Thursday. “Situations like that arise, you respond and it’s next man up. It’s all about winning here, and however that has to get done, the guys are willing to lay it all on the line and you just figure out a way to win.”

Saturday’s game with Syracuse begins a busy stretch of games for Duke as it plays four games over a 10-day stretch. After Syracuse, the Blue Devils play Clemson at home on Jan. 25, followed by road games at Louisville on Jan. 29 and Notre Dame on Jan. 31.

Aiming to curb the spread of COVID-19, Duke will continue its policy of not allowing food or drink to be consumed by anyone attending the Syracuse game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke athletics department officials announced Friday the policy has been extended through Sunday, which means it also impacts the women’s basketball game between Duke and Virginia on Sunday.

The policy will be re-evaluated prior to Tuesday night’s Clemson at Duke men’s basketball game.

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