The injury sustained Wednesday night by Duke freshman Zion Williamson in an 88-72 loss to North Carolina, which coach Mike Krzyzewski said was a 'mild knee sprain,' happened in the first offensive set of the night when he turned one direction and saw his shoe blow out. Williamson fell to the floor after his sole gave way, and clutched his right knee.
Williamson sustained the injury wearing PG 2.5s, a custom brand of Nike shoes modeled after Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George. Afterwards, Barack Obama, LeBron James and awished Williamson well, and Nike followed suit by wishing him a speedy recovery and a comment of concern about the shoes he was wearing when he was injured.
"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," Nike said. "The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."
Williamson played just 34 seconds in total on the night before the incident, shown above, effectively ended his night. He did not return to the bench, much less the game. ESPN's Maria Taylor reported that he instead watched the game from the training room with his family, who was on hand to take in the game.
While it's true that Williamson's injury is an isolated incident, it's also true that Williamson is his own unique player. How many players are 285 pounds with the same burst he possesses in college basketball, much less the NBA? Taking his size and physical profile into consideration, the list is small.
Fair or unfair, Nike will likely take some heat over this incident because if Williamson doesn't return -- or at the very least, doesn't return soon -- it could have a lasting impact on the national championship picture in college basketball.