The 24-1 Duke Women’s basketball team received sad news this weekend when it was announced that star point guard Chelsea Gray will be out for the rest of the season, the result of a dislocated right knee she suffered during Duke’s 81-70 win over Wake Forest on February 17th.
This is, regardless of how you spin it, terrible news for the Blue Devils. It is bad enough to lose a player as talented as Gray, but throw in the fact that the point guard is essentially the quarterback of the team, and it hurts all the more.
I’m not saying the Blue Devils are completely screwed, because they still have a pretty freaking good team. They will, however, need a big adjustment period, and I wonder if the time left before the NCAA tourney begins is enough time to adapt. In order to understand how difficult it is to overcome an injury to a key player, the Blue Devils need look no further than their own men’s team, who are still trying to figure out how to succeed without power forward Ryan Kelly, who was lost to a foot injury over a month and a half ago.
Their first half without Gray wasn’t pretty. Duke struggled to lock down a Wake Forest team that had lost eight of their last ten games, barely outscoring them 44-42 in the second half. The performance likely isn’t a reflection of how the Blue Devils will look going forward, because quite a few adjustments will be made in the quite a few amount of practices they’ll have before their next contest on February 22nd against Florida State. Also, it can’t be easy going through a game emotionally after watching your point guard blow out her knee.
I’m not sure how the Blue Devils will bounce back, but they certainly better figure it out fast.