No. 3 Duke to play on without Chelsea Gray

Cheryl Treworgy - TSN via PrettySporty.com

Cheryl Treworgy – TSN via PrettySporty.com

DURHAM, N.C. – The third-ranked Duke Blue Devils (16-1, 3-0) will continue on with their season on Thursday at Cameron Indoor Stadium against the Virginia Cavaliers (8-8, 1-2) without All-America guard Chelsea Gray.

The team announced on Monday that Gray will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season following a right kneecap fracture she incurred during a 78-57 win over Boston College on Sunday.

The injury marks the second straight year the two-time All-America has seen her season come to an end much earlier than expected.

Results from an MRI taken on Monday morning revealed the injury to the same kneecap she dislocated last year will require surgery, but had not been scheduled yet.

“For all of us, it’s almost impossible to talk about right now,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“We are just working through it as best we can and trying to support Chelsea in all ways possible.  Our hearts go out to Chelsea and her family.”

Up to and including Sunday’s game against Boston College, Gray was averaging 10.8 points, 7.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 steals through 17 games played.

After recovering from her injury last season, she continued where she left off and was considered to be one of the top point guards in the nation, averaging 7.2 assists which ranked her sixth nationally.

As a result of the recent injury, it has left the senior sitting 35 assists short of becoming The Blue Devils all-time leader in that category.

During her junior year, Gray had played in 25 games before suffering her dislocated kneecap injury against Wake Forest on Feb. 17, 2013.

At the time, she averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 3.6 steals, and was still named Co-ACC Player of the Year and recognized as an Associated Press and WBCA Coaches All-America for her body of work during the season.

“It is definitely the nature of sport where different people step up, especially in the face of adversity,” said McCallie.

“There’s no question our team is strong and our team will do that without question. It’s just a little bit hard to fathom at the current moment, but we will.”

Similar to last season when Gray was out of the lineup, it was guard Alexis Jones who assumed the team’s leadership in the backcourt and it is expected to be no different this time around.

In taking the reins last year, Jones pushed her game to another level and increased her production in all categories to finish the season averaging 13.8 points, 6.1 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

She also helped Duke secure both the ACC league and tournament titles while being named the 2013 ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 17.7 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Dealing with similar unfortunate circumstances, the Blue Devils will play on with Gray watching from the sidelines while Jones leads them on the court for the remainder of the season.

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