As the 5-2 Blue Devils prepare to take on North Carolina at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m., Duke released its weekly injury report. Here’s a rundown of the players are listed on the injury report this week:
NG Jamal Bruce (foot) DE Justin Foxx (hand) S Chris Tavarez (leg)
OT Takoby Cofield (lower body) QB Brandon Connette (shoulder) DE Dezmond Johnson (lower body) DT Jamal Wallace (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: Continuing to fight through bumps and bruises, Duke is confident that it will have most of the players on this week's injury report available for Saturday's ACC contest against North Carolina.
Jamal Bruce and Justin Foxx, who returned for the lineup for the Blue Devils last week in the team's loss to Virginia Tech, are listed as probable this week and will likely play alongside safety Chris Tavarez, who is also listed as probable.
When it comes to the players listed as questionable, that's when it gets a bit more hairy for Duke. Quarterback Brandon Connette was knocked out of the Blue Devils' last game on the team's opening drive with a shoulder injury and did not return. He did not practice earlier in the week, but this morning head coach David Cutcliffe seemed confident that Connette would be able to suit up against the Tar Heels Saturday.
Defensive end Dezmond Johnson, also listed as questionable, was not expected to play against Virginia Tech but made the start after being listed as doubtful on last week's injury report. He's been upgraded to questionable this week alongside defensive tackle Jamal Wallace, who did not play against the Hokies. Johnson and Wallace hope to be available Saturday when the Blue Devils' interior attempts to neutralize the ACC's top running back, Giovani Bernard, after the defensive line's poor showing against the run last week.
Despite being ravaged by injuries throughout the season, Duke's offensive line has remained healthy until this week. Tackle Takoby Cofield is the final Blue Devil listed as questionable this week, and it appears he will remain a game-time decision for Saturday's matchup with the Tar Heels. After providing excellent pass protection through the team's first six games, the Blue Devil offensive line took a lot of hits against Virginia Tech, allowing quarterback Sean Renfree to be sacked five times. If Cofield were unable to play this weekend against North Carolina, Duke would likely either shift dave Harding from guard to tackle or turn to John Coleman or Carson Ginn to protect Renfree's blind side.
The biggest surprise on this week's injury report could be the absence of starting quarterback Sean Renfree. Renfree, who made his return to the lineup last week after missing Duke's victory against Virginia with an elbow injury, missed two series after sustaining a shoulder injury in the second quarter. The Blue Devil signal-caller was quickly assessed on the sideline and returned to the game. After spending the past few weeks listed on the team's injury report, it was a bit of a surprise to not see Renfree's name this week after taking such a vicious hit and missing some snaps, but it appears Cutcliffe is confident his quarterback is fully recovered and ready to go for Saturday.