That Greg Paulus doesn’t need to have surgery is welcome news indeed.

Says Coach K:

This is an unfortunate injury but Greg is an extremely tough individual and we expect him to make a full recovery. Our medical staff will evaluate Greg’s progress continuously and he will return to action when the foot is fully healed.

Look for Jon Scheyer and DeMarcus Nelson to share ball-handling abilities in Paulus’ absence. Both lack Paulus’ passing ability, but these are the very situations in which Coach K’s teams tend to shine. The adversity, the challenge, has brought out the best in his program over the years. There’s no reason to expect any differently in 2006-07.

Paulus’ injury will be beneficial in the sense that it will force a more rapid maturation upon the freshman Scheyer, and the other individuals who will garner more playing time as a result of Paulus having gone down.

And the other “silver lining” is that this injury comes early in the year, before the ACC schedule, before the post-season, etc.

This is certainly not a preferable situation, as Paulus–and the point guard position–is the centerpiece to a Coach K-run offense. But this is not the first time that Krzyzewski has had to adjust to playing without his chosen floor general, and that experience will prove invaluable as Duke improvises in Paulus’ absence.

Perhaps a bigger concern is how Paulus’ injury will impact the team’s long-term cohesion, as Duke’s young squad will miss out on six weeks or so of competing without its “quarterback.” And the development of chemistry in that time period will have to be compensated for by the summer of informal practice, and by the successful transition of point guard by committee to point guard by Paulus.

But that’s the thing–a Paulus-run offense will play differently than one without him. How Duke’s young players, in particular, adjust to Paulus in the line-up, after being run by what will inevitably be a more predictable, less capable point guard will be a key throughout the rest of the season.

But if any team is up to the task, it is Duke. With a stable of athletes with high basketball IQ, and the familiarity with Paulus’ style of play in the bank from this summer, the Blue Devil freshmen won’t be unfamiliar with Paulus. They will simply lack the month of maturation that precedes the beginning of the regular season. Duke will have to grow up faster than expected, and then the Blue Devils will have to get ready to take everyone’s best shot, for they will certainly be gunned for in what is perceived to be a “down” year for the program.


Paulus links:


> Herald-Sun

> News & Observer

> Duke Chronicle

> Duke Chronicle – Analysis of the impact of Paulus’ injury