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COVID protocols will keep Duke assistant coach out for Saturday’s game

Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith, seated beside head coach Mike Krzyzewski during the Blue Devils’ game against Appalachian State on December 16, 2021, will not be on the bench on Saturday, December 18, 2021, due to NCAA COVID-19 protocols.

Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith, seated beside head coach Mike Krzyzewski during the Blue Devils’ game against Appalachian State on December 16, 2021, will not be on the bench on Saturday, December 18, 2021, due to NCAA COVID-19 protocols.

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With his bench already down one assistant coach the last two games, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will be missing another aide for Saturday’s game with Elon.

In accordance with the university’s health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nolan Smith is not at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to play Elon at 4 p.m. in a game televised by ACC Network.

According to a university news release, “an assessment by Duke’s medical personnel indicated no other members of the program are at risk with this particular circumstance.”

Duke associate head coach Chris Carrawell is already unavailable as he recovers from his Dec. 2 knee replacement surgery. This will be the third game Carrawell has missed. He is hoping to return for either this Wednesday’s ACC opener with Virginia Tech or the Dec. 29 league game at Clemson.

That leaves associate head coach Jon Scheyer, who will take over as Duke’s head coach following this season when Krzyzewski retires from coaching, as the lone assistant coach on Duke’s bench today.

Saturday’s game with Elon had already been twice impacted by the pandemic earlier this week. Duke was originally supposed to play Cleveland State but the Vikings had to pause their team activities due to positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Duke lined up Loyola of Maryland as a replacement team on Thursday. But, on Friday, the Greyhounds pulled out of the game due to positive COVID-19 cases.

This story was originally published December 18, 2021 3:05 PM.

Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. He placed second in both beat writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors national contest. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly. He’s won numerous state-level press association awards. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.

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