As if Duke’s frontcourt wasn’t thin enough with Ryan Kelly out indefinitely, Josh Hairston has been declared doubtful for a huge game on Thursday against NC State that will go a long way in determining the ACC race and Duke’s potential seeding in the NCAA Tournament. In an injury I can’t recall ever seeing keeping a player out of action, Hairston has been diagnosed with an arm infection following a cut he sustained during the Wake Forest game. You can see his arm bandaged in the picture to the right, and I can only guess that whatever Deacons player was responsible for the cut is an unclean derelict that has no business being on a basketball court.
Regardless of what Hairston has been officially diagnosed with (it must be bad to potentially keep him out of action), the Blue Devils will miss his defense on the blocks against one of the better frontcourts in the conference in CJ Leslie and Richard Howell. In the eight-point loss to the Wolfpack in January, Hairston started and played 25 minutes. He was effective on the floor, making 4 of his 7 shots for 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Since that game, Amile Jefferson has taken over the starting role and played 26 minutes a game.
Coach K told Andy Katz that he is not optimistic that Hairston will play Thursday:
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday night that forward Josh Hairston is doubtful to play against NC State on Thursday in Durham after he suffered an infection as a result of stitches put into his arm from a cut suffered in last week’s victory at Wake Forest. Krzyzewski said Hairston will be wearing a sling Wednesday. “I’m not optimistic for this game and we’ll see about Sunday against Boston College,” said Krzyzewski. “That puts us down to eight guys.”
Hairston will be missed if he is unable to go, as he’s played 13 minutes a game since the NC State contest. While he isn’t the offensive threat that Jefferson is, Duke will need all the help they can get with Leslie and Howell on the blocks. I expect to see increased minutes for Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee, and Jefferson will have to do a much better job of staying out of foul trouble so he’s able to play more than 12 minutes this time around.
This article was originally published at http://DukeHoopBlog.com. If you are interested in sharing your website's content with SCACCHoops.com, Contact Us.