In case you haven’t heard by now, Duke’s redshirt-freshman center Marshall Plumlee, the youngest of the Plumlee trio, underwent surgery on his injured left foot and is expected to be out 12-16 weeks. What does this mean for the youngster?
People tend to freak out a little when a player undergoes surgery, but this really shouldn’t be one of those times.
First off, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The injury limited Plumlee to just 50 minutes all season and restricted his ability, as the center managed a brutal -1.8 PER and -0.1 WS. At no point during the year did he look comfortable, and we should actually be relieved he is getting the surgery in an attempt to return to one-hundred percent, rather than hoping it goes away with time.
A twelve-week absence would bring him back around the end of July, and that is more than enough time to get himself into basketball shape and get in a groove with the new-look Blue Devils before the season opens in November. Plumlee has a realistic shot at receiving significant playing time next season, as he will be the only player on the roster standing above 6’9″, following the departure of seniors Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee. One could even argue that Plumlee has a shot at breaking the starting lineup, strictly for size purposes, so those wondering if Plumlee could be slipping out of the team’s plans for next season need not worry.
With seven footers, there will always be a small amount of paranoia when it comes to foot injuries. Duke fans just went through this scenario with Brian Zoubek, who was a five-star center coming out of high school before suffering an injury-filled career in Durham. Zoubek was able to rebound at a most crucial point, finally molding into a legitimate center in the second half of his senior season, but he never came close to completely realizing his potential.
With Plumlee, we can’t say for sure whether this surgery will completely fix him. With big men, you sort of just have to run them out there, cross your fingers and hope they don’t suffer another injury. Plumlee could come back, never show any signs of this injury again, and start evolving into the most athletic and dynamic of the Plumlees, as he has been billed by many. Plumlee could be the new version of Zoubek.
For now, there isn’t much to do except wait, and hope Plumlee makes a speedy and effective recovery. Should you start worrying? Not now, if ever.
Wishing you the best, Marshall.
Go, Blue Devils.