Duke basketball: AJ Griffin may be ready against Kentucky after all

Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

It appears as if Duke basketball freshman AJ Griffin is active in practice.

On Tuesday, the Duke basketball program posted a few videos from practice to its Instagram Stories. And one of them clearly shows five-star freshman AJ Griffin on the court and participating in the live-ball action, albeit with a full brace on his injured right knee.

Therefore, it doesn’t take a medical degree to deduce that the 6-foot-6, 220-pound chiseled small forward from New York at least looks to be on track to soon play for the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils.

So will AJ Griffin be ready for the Duke basketball season opener?

The Blue Devils still have two more weeks to go before their Nov. 9 season opener against No. 10 Kentucky at the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden.

However, keep in mind that the program has come across as overly cautious when dealing with injuries to its top stars in recent years. That has been particularly evident when an injury involves a presumed one-and-done with mega millions on the line at the next level.

Still, the fact that AJ Griffin is now practicing is nothing shy of a positive sign. Add in the fact that the McDonald’s All-American, who arrived in Durham this summer at No. 17 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite and as a projected 2022 NBA lottery pick, also took part in the team’s player intro dances at Countdown to Craziness on Oct. 15.

Griffin, an anticipated starter for Duke, sprained his knee on Oct. 8 during practice. At the time, when taking into account the knee injury he suffered in high school that cost him most of his junior season, many fans suspected he’d need at least a month before playing in a real game.

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In other words, most folks seemed to assume AJ Griffin’s status for the Kentucky clash was doubtful, even though Duke never revealed an exact timeline for his return. Now, though, there is plenty of reason for optimism on this front.