Duke's Coach K expected to return for Saturday's game against NC State

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  • Mike Krzyzewski
    Mike Krzyzewski
    American basketball player and coach
  • Jon Scheyer
    American basketball player
Nov 16, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts during the first half against the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts during the first half against the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

DURHAM — After missing the last game due to a non-COVID related virus, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is expected to return to the Blue Devils bench Saturday against N.C. State at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The 74-year-old Krzyzewski has only seven games remaining at Cameron Indoor before he retires at the end of this season.

“Everything is definitely getting back to normal," assistant coach Nolan Smith said Friday. " He (Coach K) looks great, he’s healthy, he’s energetic and he’s excited for this game, so it’s been really good to have him back around. Our team obviously gets a lift of energy when he is back around. We’re excited and we’re ready to go.”

Associated head coach Jon Scheyer, who will become Duke's next head coach after the conclusion of this season, coached the No. 8 Blue Devils (13-2, 3-1 ACC) to a 76-64 road win over Wake Forest on Wednesday night with Coach K watching from home.

Scheyer previously led the Blue Devils to an 83-82 win over Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 6, 2021, while Krzyzewski was quarantined at home after his daughter and granddaughter tested positive for COVID-19.

"There was motivation coming off the Miami game, motivation getting it done for coach (Krzyzewski), maybe some motivation not wanting to make me look bad, who knows? But definitely the first two," Scheyer said.

Blue Devils basketball: A.J. Griffin shines in first start as Duke throttles Wake Forest without Coach K

After missing Wednesday's game, Krzyzewski returned to work Thursday and Friday, and is on track to coach the Blue Devils in Saturday’s 2 p.m. Scheyer said after the win over Wake Forest that he expected Coach K to return for the game against N.C. State.

The Wolfpack (9-8, 2-4 ACC) have not beaten Krzyzewski at Cameron since 1988. N.C. State defeated Duke at home on Jan. 18, 1995 but Coach K had take a leave of absence due to back surgery and exhaustion.

The Wolfpack won again in Cameron on Jan. 23, 2017, but with assistant coach Jeff Capel leading the Blue Devils during an 84-82 loss.

N.C. State is coming off an impressive 79-63 win on the road against Louisville on Wednesday night and has won two of the last three after losing five straight.

“One thing I’ve told our guys is if they are foolish enough to go look at their record and think that they are not good, they are wrong," Smith said. "They are a much better team than their record … We’re coming into this game knowing that this is a big-time game."

David Thompson is an award-winning reporter for the USA Today Network covering NC State and Duke athletics. He can be reached at dthompson1@gannett.com, at 828-231-1747, or on Twitter at @daveth89.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke's Coach K expected to return for Saturday's game against NC State

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