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Following doctor's orders this time, the legend has spent the past three weeks in seclusion. He is rehabilitating his back through daily physical therapy and walks on the Duke golf course, while his wife, Mickie, screens his phone calls. Even old friends like Portland Trail Blazer coach P.J. Carlesimo and Wake Forest coach Dave Odom have been unable to get past her via the phone.
One of the few people to see the reclusive coach in the past three weeks was Vince Carter, a blue-chip recruit from Daytona Beach, Fla., who visited Krzyzewski at his home on Jan. 15. "He was up and about," says Carter. "He didn't seem like a guy who has had all these back problems. He's just anxious to get back. He misses his players."
Krzyzewski will apparently have to wait until next fall to rejoin them, and how much rebuilding he'll have to do then remains to be seen.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about this team's future," says Capel. "It's hard to believe, but we're 0-6 and, looking at the big picture, there's a very real chance we won't make the NCAAs."
Duke, 9-8 overall at week's end, has only five home games remaining on its schedule, and two of those are against highly ranked North Carolina and Maryland. To avoid missing the NCAAs for the first time since '83, the Blue Devils will probably have to win at least seven of their final 10 conference games. Either that or win the ACC tournament.
Indeed, the picture is so bleak that maybe Blakeney was speaking for the entire program, the entire dynasty, when he said recently, "To be losing like this is stunning. I'm tired. I'm drained."
Just 217 more days until football season.