As the 5-1 Blue Devils prepare to take on Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Duke released its weekly injury report. Here’s a rundown of the players are listed on the injury report this week:
S Brandon Braxton (upper body) CB Lee Butler (lower body) DE Justin Foxx (hand) QB Sean Renfree (arm) S Chris Tavarez (leg)
NG Jamal Bruce (foot) DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)
DE Dezmond Johnson (lower body)
CB Jared Boyd (leg) LB Kelby Brown (leg) TE Braxton Deaver (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON
TE Jack Farrell (leg) WR Blair Holliday DE Allen Jackson (shoulder) S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder) S Taylor Sowell (leg)
Breakdown: This week was a huge improvement on the injury front for the Blue Devils.
After missing last week's win against Virginia with an elbow injury, starting quarterback Sean Renfree has been upgraded to probable on this week's injury report. Renfree participated in pre-game warmups before last week's game but was unable to go, giving way to backup Anthony Boone, who threw a career-high four touchdown passes in his first start. Chances are Renfree will take the reins for the Blue Devils once again heading into this weekend's ACC matchup with the Hokies. However, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe has indicated that Boone will likely see an increased role in the team's offense after Renfree's return.
Duke saw its health improve on the defensive side of the ball this week as well. After missing last week's contest, safety Brandon Braxton will make his return to the field for the Blue Devils. Braxton is listed as probable for Saturday's game. He will be joined by cornerback Lee Butler, also listed as probable, who has played pretty banged up for Duke the last couple of weeks. Tony Foster stepped in for the injured Butler, recording his first career interception against Virginia. Butler hopes to be at 100 percent and should be more available for this weekend's contest against the Hokies.
Justin Foxx, who has missed the Blue Devils' past four games after having surgery on his right hand, is listed as probable for Saturday as well. Foxx's return will help to bolster Duke's defensive interior, which has missed multiple starters for most of the year. The line is still a battered and bruised heading into this weekend, with defensive tackles Jamal Wallace and Jamal Bruce both listed as questionable and defensive end Dezmond Johnson listed as doubtful. Wallace and Bruce will likely be game time decisions. Bruce has yet to appear for the Blue Devils in a game this season and just made his return to the practice field this week. Duke would like to have as much interior support on the defensive line as possible when dealing with a running threat like Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas.
Another injured Blue Devil also made his return to practice from a recent surgery this week. Safety Chris Tavarez, who had surgery to repair a torn left meniscus just three weeks ago, has rehabbed ahead of schedule and looks like he will be good to go for Saturday as well. In his return to the lineup, Tavarez should make an impact on special teams.
Overall, the injury outlook appears positive for Duke heading into this weekend. Expect Renfree to play, and although he might not be completely healthy, Anthony Boone has asserted himself as a threat off the bench and will be available to give the Blue Devils a change of pace. With one of Duke's toughest road tests looming, having defensive starters make their returns to the lineup will be a huge confidence boost.