Duke’s Curry ready to play; Kelly’s still out
While Ryan Kelly’s status with his foot injury remains murky, Duke does have relatively good news on another of its injured senior starters.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday that guard Seth Curry, the Blue Devils’ high-scoring guard, should be able to play this week after spraining his ankle on Saturday at N.C. State.
“Unless something else happens, he’ll be available for Thursday,” Krzyzewski said.
The Blue Devils (15-1, 2-1 ACC), coming off their first loss of the season, play Georgia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday (9 p.m., ESPN).
Curry slipped on a wet spot on the PNC Arena floor late in the N.C. State game, which the Wolfpack won 84-76 to knock Duke out of the nation’s No. 1 ranking. The Blue Devils dropped to No. 3 behind Louisville and Indiana in the latest Associated Press poll that was released on Monday.
Already dealing with a condition that causes discomfort in his lower right leg, Curry sat out the final three minutes of the game at Raleigh after rolling his left ankle and leaving the court in obvious pain.
Curry wasn’t available for comment after the game, but fellow guard Quinn Cook said Curry told him the ankle was already feeling better.
On Monday, Krzyzewski said that while Curry will miss some practice time, the ankle isn’t a major concern.
“Seth’s injury was a slight sprain to his left ankle and there wasn’t a lot of swelling after the game and (Sunday) it looked pretty good,” Krzyzewski said.
Kelly’s situation is far more disconcerting for Duke. The 6-10 senior forward, averaging 13.4 points while making 52 percent of his 3-pointers, is on crutches with his right foot in a protective boot.
He won’t play Thursday night against Georgia Tech, and Duke continues to list him as out “indefinitely.”
“(Ryan) has been on crutches to reduce the load on his foot, and we’ll see week to week what that does,” Krzyzewski said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be back at some time. We don’t want to put a time out there where he’s trying to compete against a time rather than just ... make sure we’re taking care of the injury.”
Without Kelly, who leads the team in blocked shots, the Blue Devils saw N.C. State become the first team to score more than 80 points and shoot better than 50 percent against them this season.
Krzyzewski said Kelly is adept at transition defense, an area where Duke was particularly vulnerable against the Wolfpack. Krzyzewski also said that, as a senior starter, Kelly gives the team a “sense of calm” that is absent without him.
While he praised Kelly’s replacements — junior forward Josh Hairston and freshman forward Amile Jefferson — for combining to produce 18 points and nine rebounds against N.C. State, Krzyzewski said Kelly’s intangibles would be tough for anyone to replace.
“I’m not sure you ever recapture that completely,” Krzyzewski said. “Ryan is one of the best players, and so you can’t ask somebody to just try to do what he does. I think your team has to develop a little bit different personality, and when you’ve had a personality that’s developed based really around our three seniors, you have to — it’s new. It’s new.
“But trying to chase what he had, you’re not — we won’t be able to do that. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come back at some time, and that will help us recapture it.”
Duke’s schedule allows it a few extra days to help sort things out. After playing Georgia Tech on Thursday, the Blue Devils are off until a Jan. 23 game at ACC co-leader Miami.