Duke basketball forward Mark Mitchell opened up about his injury in the NCAA Tournament.
Arguably the most confusing part of the Duke basketball season came in the final game of the season against Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament when the Blue Devils were looking to push its winning streak to 11 games and clinch a berth into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
However, minutes before tipoff it was reported that freshman forward Mark Mitchell would not play due a knee injury suffered in shoot-around.
The presence of the defensive stalwart was a glaring hole for Duke, which saw its season come to an end in disappointing fashion.
There have been some inconsistencies in the reporting about Mitchell’s injury and he appeared on The Brotherhood podcast to set the record straight about what happened last March.
“People thought I got hurt in shoot-around…I actually got hurt against Oral Roberts [in the Round of 64] in the first half and I felt it but I just kept playing and my adrenaline was running,” Mitchell said.
The 5-star prospect logged 30 minutes and finished with eight points and seven rebounds in Duke’s 74-51 victory over Oral Roberts.
“We got to shoot-around the next day and I was trying to push through it and it wasn’t feeling like it should, but even up until the game I was saying ‘I’ll be fine. We all have those things happen.'”
Mitchell was even listed in the starting lineup for the Blue Devils that afternoon but told assistant coach Amile Jefferson during warmups that he couldn’t get his knee to loose and would not be able to play.
“Obviously it was painful. It was a painful moment in the locker room before the game, but I tried to play. It’s not like I was trying to sit out,” Mitchell explained.
Duke basketball forward details specific injury and return to court
Mark Mitchell said his official diagnosis was a partial tear in his meniscus that required surgery shortly after the team returned to Durham following the loss.
Mitchell said the injury wasn’t anything too serious and he recovered in about six weeks.
“Even if we went further in the tournament I might have been able to play,” the Kansas City native said.
“By the time I got the surgery I forgot I was hurt. It wasn’t hurting anymore.”
Mitchell started all of the previous 35 games for the Blue Devils in his freshman season and averaged 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per contest.
“I’m good now. No problems.”
Mark Mitchell said that the injury that kept him off the court during the early portions of Duke’s offseason workouts was a quad injury, which had no relation to his knee injury last spring.
The 6-foot-8 forward returned to the floor for the final weeks of workouts and said he’s been moving fine ever since, which video would support.
Mitchell will be one of Duke’s starting forwards this season as he looks to take the next step in his development as a Blue Devil.