No. 2 Duke will welcome their biggest rival, North Carolina, tonight in Durham. The biggest rivalry in college basketball has been given attention all day long. However, both teams will be without some of their players that are key to their strategy.
North Carolina will be playing without Joel James. James suffered a concussion when the Tar Heels played the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While he saw action on Saturday against [then] No. 8 Miami, he won’t see action tonight. James kept the concussion to himself and didn’t inform the coaches or the training staff until Monday.
“We found out basically just yesterday that evidently Joel took a blow to the head in the Wake Forest game, and has been having pretty severe headaches,” coach Roy Williams said. “And they did some tests and found out that — I think I’ll say this right — that he’s concussed.”
Duke will again be without Ryan Kelly who injured his foot on January 9th in a game against Clemson. He is listed to be out indefinitely, but is expected to return during the conference and national tournaments if not near the end of the season.
Duke will however have Josh Hairston back tonight to play North Carolina. Hairston returned from an injury on Sunday when the Blue Devils defeated Boston College: 62-61.