ACC race tightens up with Williamson's injury

DURHAM, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- In the aftermath of Zion Williamson's knee injury in Duke's loss to North Carolina, the national debate on Thursday was whether the star freshman should ever play another game for the Blue Devils.

But Wednesday's 88-72 UNC win at Cameron Indoor Stadium dropped Duke into a tie for first place in the ACC with Virginia at 11-2 in the conference -- and also pulled the Tar Heels even with those two teams atop the conference standings. So Williamson's injury -- and his status for the rest of the season -- has added intrigue to the race for the top seed in the ACC Tournament.

Williamson entered Wednesday's game second in the ACC in scoring (22.4 ppg), third in rebounding (9.2 rpg), and leading the league in both field goal percentage (68.3 percent) and steals per game (2.28). He's the only player in the country who ranks in the top 25 nationally in scoring, steals and field goal percentage. He's considered the top prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft.

But Williamson played just 33 seconds against the Tar Heels on Wednesday before slipping after a hard plant and blowing out his left shoe. Williamson grabbed his right knee after falling to the floor, and limped to the Duke bench and eventually the locker room.

Duke announced on Thursday that Williamson suffed a Grade 1 sprain to his right knee, and was considered day-to-day. Williamson's status for Saturday's game at Syracuse was not addressed in the school's release updating the freshman's injury.

Entering that game on Saturday, the Blue Devils hold the ACC tie-breaker over UVA because of Duke's two-game sweep of the Wahoos during the regular season. UVA holds the tie-breaker over UNC after beating the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last week, in the only meeting between the two schools during the regular season.

UVA is at Louisville on Saturday, while Carolina hosts Florida State. Including this weekend's games, all three teams currently tied for first place have five remaining in the regular season.

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