And some of them really matter too.
Given the nature of basketball and the size and power of the athletes, injuries are inevitable. This year though, some of the injuries around the ACC have been consequential. Let’s start at the top, which for us means Duke.
Duke started the season with two injuries to its two most highly rated freshmen. Dariq Whitehead broke a bone in his foot which kept him out for a while and Dereck Lively was banged up too. Then Jeremy Roach hurt his toe, which has been an ongoing issue, and Whitehead suffered another injury at Virginia Tech, which naturally has Duke fans concerned. That’s a lot. And don’t forget that Jaylen Blakes is playing with a broken nose.
Clemson started the season with a knee problem for PJ Hall, their best player. He seems to have overcome it though and Clemson has suffered minimally. Senior Alex Hemenway has been out with plantar fasciitis for several weeks and Chase Hunter is currently day-to-day with a foot injury. Clemson is humming along at 9-1 in the ACC. If Brad Brownell isn’t ACC Coach of the Year, there should be an investigation.
NC State lost big man Dusan Mahorcic to a dislocated patella which we think is what Hall suffered from as well. Mahorcic’s injury required surgery so he’ll be out and if he gets back, he’ll be behind. Jack Clark, who certainly has had his moments, is also out with hip and groin issues.
And against UNC, Terquavion Smith suffered an injury that appeared to be quite serious. The medical team ultimately took him out on a stretcher. Fortunately he’s okay and is playing although he shot miserably against Notre Dame Tuesday night.
UNC had some early issues with Armando Bacot but he seems to have gotten past them. Puff Johnson has been in and out though and Pete Nance just returned from a back injury. RJ Davis got pretty beat up at Syracuse, with…well here’s what Hubert Davis said in hist post-game presser: “RJ’s fine, but he got hit a number of times. He had a dislocated finger on his shooting hand, he got hit in the nose and then the last one, the charge that he took, he got hit in the eye, so he’s pretty banged up. But in terms of being alert and aware, he’s fine.” Well there is that.
Will Shaver is also out but he hasn’t been a factor. We don’ want to call him a project, but he was never expected to have a major impact this season and had come with the expectation of redshirting anyway.
Florida State has had the worst two-year injury run we can recall. This year, Jaylan Gainey suffered an ACL injury, Chandler Jackson had a thumb issue, Jeremiah Bembry had a back injury and De’Ante Green was still recovering from a high school ACL injury. Cam’ron Fletcher is out for the year with a knee injury and Baba Miller, who the NCAA sat for the first semester, had tonsillitis and presumably surgery. That’s a lot to overcome and Leonard Hamilton only have five players back anyway.
Boston College just got center Quentin Post back from his injury but Donald Hand Jr. is out for the year with a knee injury.
Georgia Tech may be missing Lance Terry and Tristan Maxwell against Duke on Saturday. Terry has a hamstring injury and Maxwell had a hip pointer.
Pitt has three players out – John Hugley is redshirting after a frustrating injury stretch. VAson Stevenson is out for unreported reasons and William Jeffress had surgery for a toe problem.
Syracuse is missing John Bol Ajak, who is not great but who knows the system and what to do when he’s in. Peter Carey will redshirt due to a knee injury.
Virginia Tech is still missing Rodney Rice, who had an earlier injury and now is out with a finger problem.
Finally, Wake Forest lost Jao Ituka for the season with a knee injury.
Some of these are irrelevant, but some are quite serious. Whitehead is a big deal for Duke. Davis is critical for UNC. State has covered up for Mahorcic but their other big men are somewhat limited. Clemson has done well without Hunter but losing your point guard is never good. And Pitt has no one who can really fill in for Hugley, who gave them a solid post presence. That’s going to be tough to overcome as we saw at Duke as the Blue Devils feasted inside against the smaller Panthers.