Duke will have to get by without Mike Krzyzewski for a little while, as Coach K requires surgery for a herniated disc in his back.
According to an athletic department release, that surgery is going to take place this Friday, January 6th, and he could miss up to a month or so following the procedure:
The procedure will be performed by Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke University Hospital. The anticipated recovery time for Krzyzewski is up to four weeks.
After utilizing many different conservative treatment options over the last month, it was determined that a surgical procedure was necessary to resolve the problem.
“Dr. William Richardson, Dr. Friedman, and our medical team have worked tirelessly to help manage this issue for several weeks,” said Krzyzewski. “Together, we have determined that surgery is the best course of action at this time. During my recovery process, the team will be in the capable hands of Coach Capel, Coach James and Coach Scheyer. As soon as the doctors clear me to do so, I look forward to returning and giving our team 100% of my energy and attention, which is certainly something that they deserve.”
As the release notes, Coach K will be transferring his coaching duties in the interim:
Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel will coach the team in Krzyzewski’s absence, starting with the Blue Devils’ game vs. Boston College on Jan. 7 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Capel has a lengthy resume as a head coach, having spent four seasons in charge at VCU and then another five seasons as the head coach at Oklahoma, joining the Duke staff in 2011. It’s been an odd season for Coach K, who took quite a bit of heat (much of it deserved) for his behavior in the aftermath of Grayson Allen tripping another player. Duke just lost to Virginia Tech this week, too, but they remain near the top of the polls, and sit seventh in the KenPom ratings.
They’re solidly a national championship contender, and regardless of your feelings for Duke in general or Coach K in particular, we can all wish him a speedy and healthy recovery.