DURHAM, N.C. – duke first-year sensation Zion Williamson left the field and left the crowd stunned only 33 seconds away from the biggest game of the season, a visit from his rival North Carolina Wednesday night
After Duke Zion Williamson star left Wednesday's game against North Carolina after a knee injury, Caesars Palace extended Blue Devils' chances of winning the national title from +200 to +250.
Duke's Zion Williamson left the match with a knee injury after he broke the left shoe and NBA players reacted on social networks.
Williamson took his right knee in pain after slipping awkwardly and falling when his left Nike basketball shoe fell apart while he was crashing very hard while dribbling close to the free throw line. The blue rubber sole is detached from the white shoe from heel to toe along the outer edge, Williamson's foot crossing the large hole.
He went limping slightly but on his own before returning to the locker room without shoes.
Former President Barack Obama, sitting along the base line near the Duke's bench, sent encouragement to Williamson as he was leaving the court.
Duke, a freshman, Zion Williamson, appeared to injure his right knee when his left Nike shoe was torn apart. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images
In the final minutes of the first half, Duke officials announced that Williamson would not return to the match, describing the injury only on his "knee".
An all access series documenting the preparation of the Blue Devils for the 2018-2019 season, exclusively on ESPN +. Watch on ESPN +
Duke signed a 12-year contract with Nike as an exclusive supplier of uniforms, shoes and clothing. The private school has not revealed the terms of the contract extension of 2015. Nike has been an exclusive agreement with the university since 1992.
Messages addressed to Nike were not immediately returned.
Duke initially struggled in the absence of Williamson, falling behind two-digit UNC and rallying briefly before finishing 42-32 at intermission.
Williamson, the second-leading scorer in the ACC with 22.4 points per game, has emerged as the most exciting player in college basketball with his array of dunks and athleticism once in a generation.
Associated Press contributed to this report.