It's entirely possible that all these injuries end up making Duke even better

As usual, the 2016-17 season began with lofty expectations for Duke. The Blue Devils carried a preseason No. 1 ranking thanks in large part to a phenomenal freshmen class that was the top rated recruiting class in the country last year.

Through the first seven games of the season, those high expectations have had the Blue Devils holding their breath as they try and survive the barrage of injuries that have plagued them this season.

They’ve been without three of their star freshmen to start the year, and now it appears preseason All-American Grayson Allen is battling injuries as well .

Harry Giles, the No. 2 rated recruit in the 2016 class, underwent a minor knee surgery before the season and was expected out six weeks. It’s been almost eight weeks, and he’s remained at the end of the bench for Duke. Giles has appeared in warmups the past week for Duke, and it’s entirely possible that he could make his return soon. Of the three freshmen, however, he will likely be the last to make a return.

The other two freshmen who have not appeared in games — Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden — are in a similar situation as Giles. They’ve participated in warmups, but still, no action.

Tatum suffered a sprained foot in a late October practice, and Bolden suffered a lower leg injury that has held him out.

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Duke freshmen Harry Giles, left, and Jayson Tatum could be getting close to seeing action. USATSI

Duke has been mum on their expected returns but they seem to be reasonably healthy, although when determining at what percent health they will be cut loose to play, Duke is adamant — 100 percent or nothing. Their goal is to not rush the return and risk further injuries.

“We can’t go through the whole year with lingering injuries,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN’s C.L. Brown. “We’re not the team we thought we would be at this time, but we’re a good team. To be the team that we hope to be, we’ve got to be healthy. We’re going to really be adamant about taking a longer time than a shorter time, no matter what.”

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