Analyst disrespects Duke basketball by doubting Jalen Johnson injury

Duke basketball (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports) /

Something about Duke basketball drives some to concoct conspiracy theories.

Last week, in the aftermath of the Duke basketball team falling to 2-2 via an 83-68 home loss to Illinois, one windbag after another cast doubt on the good-guy intentions from the postgame comments of Mike Krzyzewski.

Yes, all the Hall of Fame head coach did was voice concerns about the season amid escalating numbers on the pandemic front. Regardless, media members and other coaches alike were lining up to basically call Krzyzewski a coward.

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This week, now that the Blue Devils are 3-2 (1-0 ACC), thanks to an encouraging 75-65 bounce-back win at Notre Dame on Wednesday night, it seems at least one analyst is grasping at straws to find a new reason to again poke the hoops giant.

Appearing on Thursday’s edition of The Field of 68 Best Bets podcast with Rob Dauster, Jeff Goodman of Stadium trumpeted his unfounded opinion regarding the injury status of Duke basketball freshman star Jalen Johnson.

In essence, by blurting out a hot-take “diagnosis” without even explaining his rationale, Goodman disrespectfully called into question the integrity of the program in Durham — not to mention an unnecessary shot at the reputation of the one-and-done candidate himself — by insinuating that Coach K and his staff might be lying about Johnson’s foot issue altogether:

“I don’t know what the status is of Jalen Johnson. You and I have talked about this off the record. The foot injury, am I buying it 100 percent? No, I’m not. I’m not. I’m not. I’ll say it right now. I’ll say it right now here on this pod, Robert Dauster, that I’m not completely buying this Jalen Johnson foot injury. How’s that?”

Well, like most spiteful nonsense from outsiders concerning Duke these days, that’s severely lacking in the evidence department for an “insider” like Goodman, who has amassed roughly a quarter of a million followers on Twitter.

When might the Duke basketball rookie return?

Duke announced on Tuesday that Jalen Johnson, who is now 19 as of his birthday on Friday, would be out indefinitely with a foot injury but has yet to disclose any further details.

However, during ESPN’s broadcast of the Notre Dame game, play-by-play voice Bob Wischusen said the Blue Devils intend to reevaluate the 6-foot-9, 220-pound combo forward in 2-3 weeks. He also noted that Johnson is currently in a boot.

Fortunately for Johnson and the Blue Devils, No. 21 Duke does not take the court again until Dec. 29 when Pitt comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium. So perhaps there’s an outside chance the Milwaukee native returns in time. Then again, with two outings per week throughout January, if the reevaluation produces discouraging news, he could rack up absences in a hurry.

Before the injury — or whatever Jeff Goodman decides we should call it — Johnson was a full-time starter averaging 11.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.0 steals, and 3.3 turnovers.

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