Former President Obama wished Duke basketball player Zion Williamson a speedy recovery late Wednesday after the freshman left the school's game against rival North Carolina with a knee injury.

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Obama, who attended the match-up between two of the nation's premier college basketball programs, offered praise and encouragement to the young player after Williamson was removed from the game following an incident in which his shoe tore apart as he planted his foot on the court.

The shoe's malfunction caused Willamson to drop to the ground in pain, while video of Obama during the incident shows the former president reacting to the play from the stands.

 

The injury put Williamson's future this season with Duke in question as doctors try to determine the severity of what they are initially calling a knee sprain.

Nike, which has long supplied shoes and other equipment to Duke, said in a statement that the injury was an "isolated incident" but that the company would work to determine the cause of the shoe breaking apart.

"We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery," Nike told ESPN in a statement. "The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."

Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said that losing Williamson, who could possibly be the first pick in the next NBA Draft, was a major blow to the team. North Carolina won the game, 88-72.

"It put everyone in the position of having to figure it out, playing without him, while playing a really good team. It's not a good situation," Krzyzewski said, according to ESPN.