Zion Williamson explodes in return from knee injury

Zion Williamson is back, with a vengeance.

The projected number one NBA draft pick missed the Duke Blue Devils’ last six games after his left shoe burst open, leaving him with a sprained left knee.

If he had any rust coming back, it didn’t show when he took to the court against Syracuse on Friday.

Williamson dominated – there was do other way to describe his return.

Zion Williamson dunks against the Syracuse Orange. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

He didn’t miss a shot in his return, netting 29 points in 13/13 shooting (though he was a poor 2/9 from the free throw line), and grabbed 14 rebounds, two assists, five steals and two blocks in an utterly complete performance.

Duke, who went 3-3 in Williamson’s absence, dominated Syracuse 84-72.

Williamson didn’t have it all his own way though – a tripping controversy erupted when Syracuse guard Frank Howard appeared to stick his foot out at the rising star in the second quarter.

Howard denied intentionally getting in Williamson’s path after the game.

Even that incident couldn’t stop the Duke phenom, who said he had always been eyeing off a return to the court, despite calls for him to sit out until the draft.

“It felt great,” Williamson told ESPN after the game. “I love this game. I love my teammates. Some people thought I wasn’t going to return. They weren’t smart. I love playing with Duke. I love my teammates.

“They’re entitled to their own opinions,” Williamson said of those who suggested he sit out in preparation for the NBA draft. “I appreciate the input. I can’t leave my boys hanging.”

He added that his knee feels “incredible.”