The Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball team has been playing as good as any team in the country of late. Part of that was due to developing chemistry and getting contributions from its entire team.
Duke released a statement yesterday that freshman Wendell Moore Jr had successful surgery to repair a broken fourth metacarpal in his right hand. He is out indefinitely, but expected to return this season.
While Duke has shown off its depth and has bodies while awaiting his return, Moore will be missed in the rotation. What Duke has lost is their version of a Swiss Army Knife in that Moore can do many things.
The Blue Devils were using Moore as a ball-handler at times when spelling Tre Jones. He was also used to guard multiple positions on defense in that he is one of the team's best defenders.
Duke will miss Moore's wingspan and athleticism, so, yeah, this is a significant injury and one where he will have to reintegrate himself back into the lineup at some point in February.
Moore logged 22 minutes per game for Duke before his injury and he was asked to do a lot of things. He was in the process of becoming a stat stuffer in the box score with his contributions but his hustle is the main reason Duke will at some point have to make adjustments.
With his absence, Duke will need some guys to take on larger roles. Alex O'Connell and Joey Baker will see increased minutes and will be asked to do more on defense. At least one of these guys will need to step up each game.
Perhaps no other player will be depended upon more than Cassius Stanley. The California freshman is coming off a solid game and he will need to use some of his athleticism on the defensive end in his teammate's absence.
This will also mean continued significant minutes from Jordan Goldwire as well. The good news is that Goldwire has been solid all season long and like Moore, plays with energy when in the game.
Despite his ability to score the ball, Duke will most miss Moore in off-ball situations and as a third ball handler. It is likely that Tre Jones will see some added minutes and pressure.
Another key for Duke will be on this past weeks ACC Rookie of the Week in Matthew Hurt to remain active in the overall stat department and not jus flourish as a scorer,
We will know soon enough how Duke will adjust. The Blue Devils take their 13-1 overall and 3-0 mark in the ACC to Atlanta tomorrow to take on Georgia Tech in a game that will tip at 9:00 on ACC Network.