Duke basketball: Jon Scheyer updates Dariq Whitehead’s injury timeline

Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Dariq Whitehead (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer updated the status of Dariq Whitehead. 

The Duke basketball team certainly caught a break after it was released that freshman Dariq Whitehead only suffered a lower leg strain last Monday against Virginia Tech rather than the feared Achilles injury, but now questions surround his return.

Head coach Jon Scheyer revealed that Whitehead returned to the practice court in a limited capacity and is getting closer to a return to the lineup despite missing the last two victories against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

“I think it’s too early to say for Saturday, but he’s recovered really well,” Scheyer said after Tuesday’s victory against the Demon Deacons.

“He was able to do some work [yesterday] before our shootaround where he was out on the court and we want to make sure with Dariq [Whitehead] he’s, of course, fully healthy, but also game ready.”

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Duke has the toughest stretch of its schedule looming as the Blue Devils host rival North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 ACC) on Saturday night and travel to No. 20 Miami (16-5, 7-4 ACC) and No. 6 Virginia (17-3, 9-2 ACC) next week

Whitehead missed the first three games of the season with a broken right foot and had been trying to physically and mentally catch up to the rest of the team but finally started to find his rhythm around mid-December.

Since December 10, the five-star prospect is averaging 11.1 points per game including his 10-point showing in just 17 minutes against the Hokies.

Duke basketball bench lacking production without Dariq Whitehead

Without the availability of Dariq Whitehead, the Duke bench unit is not very strong.

The Blue Devils only scored nine bench points, all contributed by Ryan Young, against Wake Forest after Jaylen Blakes, Jaden Schutt, and Jacob Grandison went scoreless in the victory.

Whitehead’s absence allows a player like Schutt to receive playing time but the team is missing the offensive production that comes off the bench — whether that be from Whitehead or the other player that Jon Scheyer elects to leave out of his starting lineup.

“He’s been working his butt off, progressing really well, and we’ll make that decision as we get closer,” Scheyer added.

Regardless if Dariq Whitehead plays on Saturday night (6:30p.m. EST, ESPN) against North Carolina it seems like he is  getting much closer to returning to the court.