BY AARON BEARD
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will have a total knee replacement surgery, leading the team to cancel this month’s exhibition trip to the Dominican Republic.
The school announced Thursday the Hall of Fame coach will have the procedure this weekend on his right leg at the university hospital in Durham. Krzyzewski will be released within three days to begin a rehabilitation program at Duke.
In a statement, the 70-year-old Krzyzewski said he decided on surgery after three straight days of working with the team made him realize his knee condition “wouldn’t be sustainable” through next season.
In a video posted to the program’s Twitter account, Krzyzewski said he would be ready “to go full speed” by the start of preseason practice in September.
“I mean, I could kind of muck it out for the Dominican trip,” Krzyzewski said. “But for the whole season, it would not be appropriate to do this.”
It’s the sixth surgery in 17 months for Krzyzewski, who holds a Division I men’s record 1,071 career wins with five NCAA championships. He missed a month of this past season after undergoing a procedure to have a fragment of a herniated disk removed from his lower back.
He also had his left knee replaced in April 2016, underwent a hernia surgery a month later and had two operations on his left ankle that June.
“Unequivocally, this is the absolute right thing Mike should do, and at precisely the right time,” Duke athletic director Kevin White said in a statement.
The team was scheduled to leave next Thursday and play two games against the Dominican Republic National Team before returning to Durham on Aug. 24. NCAA rules allows schools as many as 10 practices before leaving for an international trip.
“I’m anxious to do it,” Krzyzewski said of surgery. “I think we have a really good group of youngsters and they deserve me to be at my best for them, because for those three days of working with them, they certainly were giving me their best.”
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary contributed to this report.
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