The NBA scouts who attended Duke’s pro day on Tuesday afternoon didn’t get to see as much of Jayson Tatum as they hoped.
The prized freshman reportedly suffered an unspecified foot injury midway through the event and had to be helped off the floor.
Duke officials did not immediately return messages left by Yahoo Sports seeking further information about the severity of Tatum’s injury or a timetable for his return. As a result, specific information is scarce aside from a handful of reports relying on information gleaned from NBA personnel in the building.
60-70 @nba personnel staff members in attendance at @DukeMBB pro day. Jayson Tatum goes down with some type of foot injury. Didn’t look good
— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) October 25, 2016
NBA scout at Duke Pro Day today said Jayson Tatum appeared to suffer “a stress reaction in his foot.” No official word or timetable yet.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) October 25, 2016
Duke freshman Jayson Tatum did suffer some sort of foot injury in practice today. Being evaluated now. Uncertain of nature. Was in pain.
— Stephen Wiseman (@stevewisemanNC) October 25, 2016
The timing of Tatum’s injury is brutal for Duke because he appeared to be the team’s most polished, college-ready freshman. The high-scoring 6-foot-8 swingman has drawn rave reviews for his performance in practice so far including an 18-point shooting clinic at last Saturday night’s Countdown to Craziness event.
Tatum is the second member of Duke’s decorated freshman class to suffer an injury this month. Forward Harry Giles, arguably the top prospect in the 2016 class, underwent his third knee surgery in the past three years and is not expected to be ready in time for Duke’s season opener on Nov. 11.
With a healthy Giles and Tatum, Duke was a runaway favorite to win a national title this season. The Blue Devils may still start the year at No. 1 in the polls in spite of these injuries, but the gap between themselves and the field narrows considerably if one or both of their star freshmen are hampered.
Look for senior Matt Jones to reenter Duke’s starting lineup at small forward if Tatum isn’t ready by the start of the season. McDonald’s All-American Marques Bolden will likely start alongside senior Amile Jefferson for however long Giles is out.
Whether it’s Kyrie Irving, Ryan Kelly or Amile Jefferson, Duke has dealt with more than its share of foot injuries in recent years.
Now as the Blue Devils await word on Tatum’s status, it looks like they’ll have to overcome another one.
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