As the 6-3 Blue Devils prepare to take on No. 10 Clemson 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:
QB Sean Renfree (head)
DE Kenny Anunike (lower body) RB Juwan Thompson (upper body)
CB Jared Boyd (leg) S Brandon Braxton (lower body) LB Kelby Brown (leg) TE Braxton Deaver (leg) S Anthony Young-Wiseman (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON
TE Jack Farrell (leg) WR Blair Holliday DE Allen Jackson (shoulder) S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder) S Taylor Sowell (leg)
Breakdown: Duke limps into its matchup against Clemson with a healthy starting quarterback but has taken a number of crushing blows on the injury front this week.
The Blue Devils breathed a sigh of relief when quarterback Sean Renfree was cleared by team doctors shortly after suffering a concussion in last week’s 48-7 loss to Florida State. Renfree was able to participate in the team’s practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and is listed as probable for Saturday’s game against the Tigers. After taking a series of nasty hits against the Seminoles and watching backup Anthony Boone complete just 3-of-15 passes in relief of their injured starter, the Blue Devils hope Renfree’s return will restore their offensive rhythm. Although Duke will proceed with caution following a serious head injury, it appears that Renfree will make the start Saturday.
Running back Juwan Thompson and defensive end Kenny Anunike both suffered injuries against Florida State as well and are listed as doubtful for this week’s contest. Thompson, who was the victim of helmet-to-helmet contact in the second quarter and immediately left the game, has often been the least effective option in Duke’s three-pronged running attack of Thompson, Josh Snead and Jela Duncan.
Thompson’s absence will be felt if he cannot play Saturday, but the potential loss of Anunike would sting more for Duke. Anunike has been one of the leaders on the defensive line for the Blue Devils this season, and they will need to get pressure on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd to keep him from distributing the ball to a talented array of receivers. With Anunike likely unavailable for Saturday’s game, a gaping hole will need to be filled along Duke’s defensive front.
Brandon Braxton will miss his second consecutive game after suffering an injury in practice last week. The safety was listed as doubtful entering last weekend’s contest, but there will be no doubt that Braxton will not play against Clemson. Duke’s secondary was torched against the Seminoles, allowing Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel to throw for 282 yards on just eight completions. The Blue Devils’ defensive backfield will be on high alert this weekend when squaring off with one of the leading receiving tandems in the conference in Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Braxton’s spot at safety will be occupied by freshman Dwayne Norman, who played the best game of his rookie season last week, recording 13 tackles, forcing one fumble and recovering two.
Regardless of who is able to play against Clemson, one thing is for certain—Duke’s first bye week of the season Nov. 10 is a much-needed one for this team’s health.