Duke 'Healing Fine' But Withdraws From Jonesboro Open

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Defending champion Norm Duke has withdrawn from the PBA Jonesboro Open next week as he continues to recover from an upper left thigh injury.

Duke, who beat Anthony Simonsen 212-164 to win last year’s event in Jonesboro, Arkansas, was forced to withdraw last week while in contention for the show at the PBA Hall of Fame Classic.

Instead of defending his title in Jonesboro, the 40-time PBA Tour champion will take the time to nurse his injury and focus on the stretch of major events coming up in February and March.

“I have withdrawn from next week in order to fully recover from a quad injury,” Duke told FloBowling on Friday. “I am healing fine, but I need to ensure that I am able to take complete advantage of what February and March offers.”

In contention to make the show in Arlington, Texas, Duke dropped out with five games to go last week to prevent further injury to an area that years ago knocked him out for months. He called it a “punch in the gut” at the time.

After the Jonesboro event, the PBA Tour enters its most important stretch of the entire season with all five majors within a two-month stretch.

In February, the PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA Players Championship and U.S. Open will take place in back-to-back-to-back weeks. In March, the World Series of Bowling will be followed by the USBC Masters.

At 56, Duke continues to prove he can compete at the highest level provided he can remain healthy. He won back-to-back titles last year at the PBA Indianapolis Open and PBA Jonesboro Open.

“It’s disappointing to go to the gym every single day for two months to get myself in what I felt was as good a shape as I’ve ever been,” Duke told FloBowling immediately after withdrawing last week. “Then three days in, I’m looking at this. That’s very disappointing. A lot of hard work goes into this training stuff. It’s a punch in the gut.”

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