Duke Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski Announces A Leave Of Absence

Duke basketball has had a very successful season so far. The Blue Devils have gone 12-2 and are sitting at No. 5 in both the AP and coaches poll despite losing some of their key players in Grayson Allen to suspension and Harry Giles to Injury. While they have been successful in countering setbacks this season, they now face the most difficult one to date.

Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach of Duke basketball and widely considered one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, has announced that he will take time off from the team to undergo surgery on his back.

Duke University athletics announced Krzyzewski’s leave of absence on their website yesterday:

“Duke University head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo lower back surgery on Friday, Jan. 6, to remove a fragment of a herniated disc. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke University Hospital. The anticipated recovery time for Krzyzewski is up to four weeks. After utilizing many different conservative treatment options over the last month, it was determined that a surgical procedure was necessary to resolve the problem.”


Krzyzewski has dealt with many health problems in the past. However, none of them have kept him out of the locker room for as long as this will.

Filling in the head coaching spot will be associate head coach and former Duke basketball player, Jeff Capel. Assistant coaches Nate James and Jon Scheyer will also assume larger roles in the absence of Krzyzewski.

Capel is no stranger to being the head coach at the Division I level. Spending four years at Virginia Commonwealth University and five years at Oklahoma University as head coach, he is very capable of keeping this very talented Duke basketball team on track.

Krzyzewski’s absence could not have come at a worse time. On the brink of a very difficult ACC schedule, this team has many difficult opponents in front of them. Duke has prepared themselves with a tough non-conference schedule leading up to this point. They have played teams such as Michigan State, Kansas, and Florida. However, some of their most difficult matchups still lie ahead.

Capel will assume the role as head coach on Jan. 7, when the Blue Devils host Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

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