Coach K delayed back surgery to get Duke 'moving in the right way'

— -- DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he postponed his surgery a few days to get his team "moving in the right way."

Krzyzewski led the Blue Devils to a 110-57 win over Georgia Tech Wednesday night and is now expected to miss up to four weeks after having back surgery on Friday.

It's the second time in Krzyzewski's career that he's been forced to miss a portion of the season due to back issues. He had surgery to repair a ruptured disc before the 1994-95 season and quite possibly returned too soon to the sideline. After compiling a 9-3- record, he cited back issues and exhaustion and sat out the remainder of the season. He said he hoped he was smarter than back then when he rushed back too soon.

"I won't be in a hurry to come back until I'm ready," Krzyzewski said. "I made that mistake in my younger days and I'm too old to renew that mistake. I do feel confident in the direction we're going right now."

Part of the right direction included reinstating Grayson Allen into the lineup after a one-game suspension. He also started freshman forward Harry Giles, who was the No. 1 ranked player in the 2016 ESPN 100, who missed the first 11 games while rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in high school.

Assistant coach Jeff Capel, who was a sophomore guard when Krzyzewski was sidelined the final 19 games of the 1994-95 season due to back issues, will serve as the interim head coach starting with Duke's home game Saturday against Boston College.

Two decades ago, the Blue Devils fell apart under interim coach Pete Gaudet, losing 15 of their final 19 games. That 1995 season remains the last time Duke missed the NCAA tournament.

The Blue Devils aren't expected to collapse this time around.

Capel served as the team's head coach for one game last season when Krzyzewski felt ill before a trip to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. He served as head coach at VCU from 2003-06 and Oklahoma from 2007-11 before returning to Duke as an assistant.

While Krzyzewski is out, he said Nolan Smith will serve as the team's third assistant coach. Smith, a former guard who played on Duke's 2010 national championship team, has been serving as special assistant to the team.

Krzyzewski, who said he's been in pain for the last month, said he would keep in tune to what the team was doing while he's out.

"I'll stay right on top -- without getting in their way," Krzyzewski said. "The other thing is, I don't know how I'll feel. That's what I did in the past. I already had it figured out, something I didn't know and that was not really very smart. I'm going to let it happen, see what that say, and take my time. But I'll be back."