DURHAM – Duke forward Ryan Kelly sprained his right foot in practice on Tuesday and will miss the ACC tournament.
The junior will be monitored over the weekend and re-evaluated Monday.
Without Kelly, the Blue Devils will have to take care to avoid wearing the Plumlee brothers out, especially if they get to Sunday’s championship. Beyond Mason and Miles, Duke’s only other frontcourt options are Josh Hairston and Mike Gbinije.
Hairston and Gbinije both averaged less than 7 minutes per ACC game, and Gbinije only saw action in eight of the Blue Devils’ conference games.
Kelly is averaging 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season.
While he struggled with his consistency for some of the ACC season, Kelly did eclipse 20 points in three ACC games. Despite missing all five of his 3-point attempts against North Carolina on Saturday, Kelly made 40.8 percent of his 3-pointers this season.
Kelly has been in and out of the Blue Devils’ starting lineup, but he reclaimed his starting spot in Duke’s last three games.
His injury will give Mason Plumlee the chance to re-assert himself. Plumlee struggled through much of February, but he turned in a solid 17-point, four-rebound effort against the Tar Heels.
“I felt like I got out of a little bit of a funk there,” Plumlee said.
The Blue Devils open the ACC tournament on Friday night at 7 p.m. against the winner of the Virginia Tech-Clemson game.