Kyrie Irving on Zion Williamson: ‘Just hope he stays resilient’

"It’s just unfortunate, especially on a big-time game like that."

North Carolina v Duke
Zion Williamson walks off the court after slipping because his shoe broke. –Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

MILWAUKEE — Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving played just 11 games at Duke before a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of his freshman year. Irving was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft anyway, and has since turned into a six-time All-Star.

When current Duke star Zion Williamson, a freshman who is considered the likely No. 1 overall pick of this June’s draft, suffered a mild knee sprain in his team’s game against North Carolina on Wednesday night, it ignited questions about whether Williamson should sit out for the remainder of the season to avoid further injuries that could hurt his pro career.

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Irving, for one, wishes that was not the focus.

“Now it’s just, instead of worrying about the injury and what he has to deal with, it just becomes about his future, all the questions that are asked,’’ Irving said. “So, you know, just hope he stays resilient and knows what’s important, and that’s him and his family.’’

Williamson’s injury unfolded in an unusual manner. When he planted his feet while dribbling near the foul line, the sneaker on his left foot ripped open, and then his right knee buckled.

“It’s unfortunate, especially just the situation that happened, blown out of his shoe completely,’’ Irving said. “It’s not really common when you see things like that. It’s just unfortunate, especially on a big-time game like that.’’

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