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Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski To Have Back Surgery, Out Indefinitely

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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski will have back surgery this week. Coach K will be out an indefinite amount of time.


Duke head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will have lower back surgery to remove a fragment of a herniated disc on Friday and miss an undetermined number of games, the school announced on Monday morning.

The procedure is expected to put Coach K in recovery mode for up to four weeks.

“Dr. William Richardson, Dr. Friedman, and our medical team have worked tirelessly to help manage this issue for several weeks,” Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the Blue Devils. “Together, we have determined that surgery is the best course of action at this time. During my recovery process, the team will be in the capable hands of Coach Capel, Coach James and Coach Scheyer. As soon as the doctors clear me to do so, I look forward to returning and giving our team 100% of my energy and attention, which is certainly something that they deserve.”

Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White emphasized that Coach K’s health is priority No. 1 during this time.

“To be sure, the entire Duke community is supportive and eager to get Mike back as soon as possible. His health is paramount, and he will get the best possible care in the world by the Duke medical team. With the proper recovery time, we look forward to Mike doing what he does best—leading and teaching—very soon.”

Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel will run the team in Krzyzewski’s absence. The Blue Devils’ next game is Wednesday against Georgia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where Krzyzewski is likely to coach before handing over the reins to Capel starting with the Boston College home contest on Saturday.

The Blue Devils are coming off of an 89-75 loss at Virginia Tech in their ACC opener this past Saturday afternoon.

Krzyzewski has won a Division I-record 1,055 games in 41-plus seasons as a head coach, and he is 982-264 in 36-plus years in Durham. He has won five NCAA titles with the Blue Devils (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015)—the second-most national titles by a head coach in NCAA history. He is also the only coach to lead a country to three consecutive Olympic basketball gold medals.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Krzyzewski into its membership in 2001.

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