Duke basketball: Why is Coach K limping?

Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski. (Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski. (Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports) /

While leading Duke basketball in the Final Four, Mike Krzyzewski was walking strangely prompting many to ask, why is Coach K limping?

Mike Krzyzewski has been a fixture in college basketball for so long it’s sometimes easy to forget he’s 75 years old.

After more than four decades of pacing the sidelines, his body isn’t quite what it used to be.

Fans watching the Final Four battle between Duke and North Carolina took notice of the head coach limping.

Coach K health history: Coach K had hip replacement surgery in 1999 due to osteoarthritis

Coach K has dealt with hip problems for more than 20 years. He developed osteoarthritis and had to undergo a hip replacement in 1999, according to a feature in Pain Pathways from 2012. He tried to coach the prior season while managing the pain but his mobility suffered.

“The first time around, I couldn’t demonstrate anything to my players, and coaching is very hands-on,” Coach K said. “The players assume that as long as you are there, you are ready for duty. The first time, my pain probably kept me from bonding as well with the kids on the team, which affects the team as a whole. I learned my lesson and didn’t put off the second surgery.”

The decision to get his left hip replaced paid off as he experienced less pain and got his mobility back. He ended up needing a replacement on the right in 2002.

However, it’s been more than 20 years since then and his hips may be bothering him again. Hip replacements don’t last forever after all.

It’s also possible that age has taken its toll in other areas, causing the noticeable limp for another reason.

Whatever it is, Krzyzewski just has to get through the weekend before he’ll have all the time in the world to address the problem. He is retiring after this season. At worst, he’ll do so after the Final Four if the Blue Devils lose to UNC. At best, he’ll go out on top with a trophy lift in the national title game.

Next. Duke basketball: 50 best players to play for Coach K. dark

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