Hairston, Plumlee face surgeons as Duke pursues 6-9 transfer
The stress fracture that sidelined Marshall Plumlee for Duke’s first nine games last season never fully healed.
On Tuesday, the youngest of Duke’s three basketball-playing Plumlees had surgery to repair his left foot.
Another of Duke’s returning big men, rising senior Josh Hairston, is next up in the surgical rotation. Hairston is to have thumb surgery at a later date.
The 6-7 Hairston suffered a torn ligament in the thumb during the season.
In an effort to boost its depth in the post, Duke is hoping to land 6-9, 260-pound forward Tarik Black as a transfer. Duke’s coaches met with Black on Tuesday night, according to a source close to the Duke program.
Black, a juior with one year of eligibility remaining, transferring from Memphis and, after he graduates next month, would be eligible immediately at his new school. Black averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds for Memphis last season.
He was a national top 50 recruit as a high school player.
The 6-11, 235-pound Plumlee, who played in 19 games as a redshirt freshman last season, will need three to four months of recovery time before he can begin full preparation for his sophomore season.
“Marshall was having a very good preseason before suffering the injury last year,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement on Tuesday. “The injury set him back but we expect him to make a full recovery and be a key contributor for us next season.”
Plumlee had a strong offseason last summer that impressed Krzyzewski. But in October, he had to be shut down due to discomfort in his left foot.
He didn’t see his first game action until Dec. 19 and, even then, played sparingly and was never able to break into the Blue Devils’ rotation.
“When he came back,” said Perky Plumlee, father of Miles, Mason and Marshall Plumlee, “it didn’t quite feel right.”
Having already sat out the 2011-12 season, Marshall Plumlee stayed active on Duke’s roster this season despite not being 100 percent healthy. He backed up his older brother, Mason, who had a terrific senior season and was named all-ACC and second-team all-American.
Once Duke’s season ended with a 30-6 record and an NCAA Tournament elite eight appearance, the Blue Devil medical staff decided that Marshall Plumlee would need surgery.
Perky Plumlee said Tuesday’s procedure, performed by Dr. James Nunley at the Duke Ambulatory Surgery Center, involved bone grafting and inserting a plate in the foot to promote healing.
The expectation, Perky Plumlee said, is that Marshall Plumlee will be able to make a full recovery and be able to play at full speed next season. With Mason Plumlee heading to the NBA after completing his eligibility, Marshall Plumlee is one of three returning post players for Duke next season.
Of course, going through the rehabilitation process won’t be easy for a player who has seen a total of 50 minutes playing time in two seasons at Duke.
“Marshall is a high-energy, intense person,” Perky Plumlee said. “If he was a laid-back person, it would be easier. It’s driving him crazy. He wants to come out of his skin.”
Marshall Plumlee was a McDonald’s All-American center from Christ School in Arden prior to arriving at Duke in 2011.