With Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood both being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft and Josh Hairston graduating several months earlier, the only member of the Duke frontline who saw consistent play time was Amile Jefferson. Recently, the 6-foot-8 Jefferson has returned to playing after recovering from hip surgery he underwent this summer.
This weekend he sat down with John Watson from TheDevinDen.com, part of the Scout network, for a Q & A as he updated the status of his surgically repaired hip.
In his most recent media session, Coach K said you were getting back to full speed and over your injury … so, what exactly happened?
Amile Jefferson: Early in the offseason I tweaked something and it just didn’t feel right. I had a chance to meet with our trainers and some doctors to figure it out. They all thought the best thing for me was to just rest and take some time off. Really it was just the wear and tear from last season, which was a tough one with a long banging. Since it was the summer and we had time, we figured it was best to take our time and get healthy.
So, it was a hip injury, then? Coach mentioned you’re just now working to find your explosion again…
It was, but the time off has helped me get back. Once i was cleared to return things felt like they always did, and I can get up and down the court really well. I don’t have my normal explosion because of the extended time off, but that’s coming back. We are working on lifting with my legs now, so that I’ll be back to full strength.
Jefferson started 26 of 35 games last season averaging 6.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The next most experienced big is Marshall Plumlee (8.5 minutes per game). However, Duke certainly doesn’t lack front court talent. Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow will bolster the frontline, as will Semi Ojeleye in his second season in Durham.
While sidelined Jefferson made his contributions to the team through communication, as Bret Sterlow noted last week for the News & Observer, which will be an important asset this season with several newcomers to the program.
The Blue Devils open the season against Presbyterian on Nov. 14 at home.