Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo back surgery on Friday, the university announced early Monday.

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski To Have Back Surgery Friday

Krzyzewski is expected to coach the Blue Devils on Wednesday against Georgia Tech and then step away for the surgery to remove a fragment of a herniated disk in his lower back.

The head coach is anticipated to have a four-week recovery.

“His back has been bothering him way worse than he’s let on,” a source told ESPN.


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Associate head coach Jeff Capel will coach the Blue Devils in Krzyzewski’s absence. Assistants Nate James and Jon Scheyer are also set to take on bigger roles. Capel’s first game will be at home Saturday against Boston College.

Krzyzewski– nicknamed ‘Coach K’– released a statement in which he said he intends to return as quickly as possible.

“Dr. William Richardson, Dr. Friedman, and our medical team have worked tirelessly to help manage this issue for several weeks,” said Krzyzewski. “Together, we have determined that surgery is the best course of action at this time. During my recovery process, the team will be in the capable hands of Coach Capel, Coach James and Coach Scheyer. As soon as the doctors clear me to do so, I look forward to returning and giving our team 100% of my energy and attention, which is certainly something that they deserve.”

Duke (12-2) is currently ranked fifth in both the AP and coaches Top 25 polls.

Krzyzewski previously had back issues in 1994, and stepped away after surgery in January 1995 for the remainder of the season.

This year, Krzyzewski, 69, underwent four total surgeries during the offseason to replace his left knee, repair his left ankle and fix a hernia, squeezing those procedures into a busy summer during which he also led the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro.

Capel has considerable head coaching experience, having spent four years at Virginia Commonwealth and five at Oklahoma. He led the Sooners to the Elite Eight in 2009. Capel, a former Blue Devils player, will take over just as Duke gets deep into the rough-and-tumble ACC schedule.

Krzyzewski has led Duke to five national titles and has a team that was ranked No. 1 in the preseason. The Blue Devils last fell to Virginia Tech on Saturday without Grayson Allen, who is serving an indefinite suspension for tripping an opponent. Allen’s status for Wednesday’s game is undecided, according to the school, and Krzyzewski will still determine when the guard returns to play.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils reacts against the Florida Gators in the second half during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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