Expected before the season to form an elite duo out of the backfield alongside preseason All-ACC selection Deon Jackson, Duke running back Brittain Brown's 2019 campaign will be cut short.
Running back Brittain Brown has been declared out for the season following surgery on his left shoulder, the team announced in a release Thursday afternoon.
The redshirt junior totaled only 56 yards on 12 attempts while battling the injury through three games this season, missing the Blue Devils' win over Middle Tennessee and leaving the team's blowout of Virginia Tech after only two rushes for 13 yards.
“I’m concerned about Brittain Brown,” head coach David Cutcliffe said during his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon. “We’re at a point with the shoulder that we got to make a decision. I’ll visit with him. It’s been a hard year for him, emotionally. He had a tough year a year ago. We'll let you guys know, but we may make the decision to go ahead and get him repaired. In his best interest, certainly that’s what you want to probably do. I’d love to have him, we need him, you saw the spark he gave our team a week ago. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Brown also missed four games last year due to a knee injury, totaling 369 yards on 4.6 yards per attempt. The Georgia native rushed for a team-leading 701 yards on 5.4 yard per rush as a redshirt freshman in 2017.
In Brown's absence, sophomore Mataeo Durant has stepped up as the No. 2 running back behind Deon Jackson, rushing for only 122 yards on 3.3 yards per carry this season, but adding 108 receiving yards and a touchdown on nine catches as well.
"He's played really well," Cutcliffe said of Durant. "He's playing maybe secretly better than people realize. Keep your eye on him. He's going to be something special."
Cutcliffe added that freshmen Jalon Coleman and Jordan Waters will see an increase in practice reps in hopes of making up for the losses of Brown and junior Marvin Hubbard III, who underwent surgery in August for a ruptured achilles he suffered last year.
"I don't think you get through a season with two [running backs]," Cutcliffe said. "It's rare that you do. We're down because of Marvin Hubbard, and if you go down two, it starts getting pretty serious."
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