Freshman Marques Bolden, the object of a fierce recruiting battle last spring between Duke and Kentucky before the big man ultimately chose the Blue Devils, is expected to miss his team’s first two regular-season games after suffering a lower-leg injury.
Duke announced on its basketball Twitter account Monday afternoon that the 6-foot-11 Bolden had hurt his lower left leg but the school provided no additional details about the injury immediately. The tweet said Bolden would be re-evaluated after this weekend.
The Blue Devils, ranked No. 1 in the preseason media and coaches’ polls, open their 2016-17 season with home games Friday against Marist and Saturday versus Grand Canyon. On Tuesday, Duke takes on Kansas (No. 2 coaches’ poll, No. 3 AP) in the State Farm Champions Classic as part of a doubleheader that also includes Kentucky vs. Michigan State at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Bolden started for Duke in its opening exhibition game against Virginia State on Oct. 28. The freshman contributed 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in a 90-59 Duke win. Bolden suited up but did not play in the Blue Devils’ second exhibition Friday against Augustana as Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he was giving the newcomer some needed rest.
Bolden’s injury is the third recently to one of the team’s top freshmen this preseason. Harry Giles, a 6-10 forward, underwent knee surgery early last month and was expected to miss six weeks, the team said. Jayson Tatum, a 6-8 forward, sprained his foot during the team’s Pro Day in October. Tatum missed both exhibition games but Krzyzewski said he would be ready for Friday’s opener.