Mike Krzyzewski knee surgery leads to cancellation of Duke exhibition trip

Team had planned two games in the Dominican Republic later this month

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts during the game against Pitt Saturday

Duke has cancelled the men’s basketball team’s scheduled trip to the Dominican Republic, after head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s knee required surgery.

The 70-year-old coach will have a right knee replacement at Duke University Hospital over the weekend of August 12. Krzyzewski had a similar replacement procedure on his left knee in April 2016, and he’s also had hernia and back surgeries over the last two years.

The announcement came just two days after Duke released the schedule for the Dominican trip. The Blue Devils were scheduled to leave on Thursday, Aug. 17, and return on Thursday, Aug. 24. Duke was scheduled to play the Dominican national team in exhibition games on August 20 and 23, to help the national team prepare for the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup at the end of the month. Duke would also take part in several cultural trips and activities while in the Dominican Republic.

Krzyzewski held three practices with the team, to prepare for the trip, at which time it became apparent that his knee had become a problem.

“After three days of working with our team, I found that it wasn’t sustainable for me, for a long period of time, to go forward,” he said in a video posted on the team’s social media accounts. “I could kind of muck it out for the Dominican trip, but for the whole season, it would not be appropriate to do this.”

In a release from the school, Krzyzewski added, “The best course of action is to correct the problem now rather than later, when our team would be more profoundly impacted.”

“Unequivocally, this is the absolute right thing Mike should do, and at precisely the right time,” Duke Director of Athletics Kevin White said. “Certainly, we know Mike will receive unparalleled medical care here at Duke, and that his recovery will lead him into his 38th season here at full strength. Once again, that is exactly what Mike, and our team, should do as we head into the 2017-18 season, wherein we are extremely excited to see what the upcoming year brings.”

Doctor Michael P. Bolognesi, joint replacement orthopedic surgeon at Duke University Medical Center, will perform the surgery. The procedure requires a hospital stay that could be as long as three days, followed by rehabilitation.

“While it’s disappointing that we aren’t able to make the Dominican Republic trip, this is a positive development for both our team and myself because it will allow us to be at full strength for the start of practice this fall,” Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski expressed confidence that he would be able to go full-speed at the start of preseason practice in late September.  Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal