As the 4-1 Blue Devils prepare to take on Virginia at home Saturday at 3 p.m., Duke released its weekly injury report. Here’s a rundown of the players are listed on the injury report this week:
David Helton (leg)
CB Lee Butler (lower body) QB Sean Renfree (arm) DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)
CB Jared Boyd (leg) S Brandon Braxton (upper body) LB Kelby Brown (leg) NG Jamal Bruce (foot) TE Braxton Deaver (leg) DE Justin Foxx (hand) S Chris Tavarez (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON
TE Jack Farrell (leg) WR Blair Holliday DE Allen Jackson (shoulder) S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder) S Taylor Sowell (leg)
Breakdown: It's no secret that Duke got bitten by the injury bug in last week's win against Wake Forest, and it's no surprise to see all five starters the team lost during the game on this week's injury report.
Clearly, the Blue Devils' primary concern will be the health of starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Renfree, who is listed as questionable for this week's contest against Virginia, sat out the entire fourth quarter in Duke's victory against the Demon Deacons last weekend. Head coach David Cutcliffe said this morning that his signal-caller would be a game-time decision for the Blue Devils' matchup with the Cavaliers. If Renfree cannot go, Duke will turn to backup Anthony Boone, who led the team's final two touchdown drives against Wake Forest.
The Blue Devils' defensive personnel in this weekend's matchup will ultimately depend on the health of the starters they lost last weekend. Linebacker David Helton, who was knocked out of the game early in the first quarter against Wake Forest, is listed as probable this week and will likely play. Cornerback Lee Butler, who has now left Duke's last two games due to injury, and defensive tackle Jamal Wallace are both listed as questionable for Saturday's game. It is expected that like Renfree, they too will be game-time decisions.
Although it has flown under the radar with the loss of Renfree this week, the loss of safety Brandon Braxton will be a huge blow to Duke's defensive unit. Braxton, who is third on the team in tackles in his first year playing on the defensive side of the football, has been a huge asset to the Blue Devil defense despite the countless injuries the unit has faced. The safety will not play in Saturday's game against Virginia, giving way to freshman Dwayne Norman, who replaced Braxton in last weekend's contest and played the best game of his college career. Ultimately, the team hopes that Braxton's injury will not keep him out of action for very long, as Duke continues to play with a depleted secondary.
There could be two very different Duke teams that square off with the Cavaliers Saturday. If the Blue Devils end up on the right side of these game-time decisions, the team will have an excellent chance to improve to 5-1 against a struggling Virginia team. But if Renfree and other key starters are not able to go, we could be in for a wild game at Wallace Wade.