Boone questionable to play against Navy

Oct. 10, 2013 @ 11:48 AM

For the first time since he was injured on Sept. 7, Anthony Boone has a chance to play in a game for Duke this Saturday.

Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe said Boone, the team’s starting quarterback entering the season who is recovering from a fractured clavicle, is considered questionable for Duke’s game with Navy on Saturday (12:30 p.m., WRAL).

“We are listing Anthony as questionable because that’s what he is,” Cutcliffe said.

Scans of his the collarbone, which is on his throwing side, show it has healed properly. But Boone still must pass what Cutcliffe called clinical exams, which involve testing his strength to ensure the chances of re-injury are as minimal as possible.

Boone will go through an on-field workout on Friday that will give the medical and coaching staffs one more evaluation opportunity.

“We’ll really see what he looks like,” Cutcliffe said. “It will be as much of a game atmosphere as you can. We’ll know a little more. Then you have to decide does he feel good about it.”

Boone has done increasingly more in practice over the last two weeks without any physical setbacks.

“This is his best week,” Cutcliffe said. “I saw him this morning after the work that we put him through (on Wednesday). He was in good spirits, up early and in there getting in that clinical work. He’s still in therapy and will be in some form of therapy for a while.

“It’s safety and effectiveness that I’m looking at. Safety first.”

Brandon Connette has started in Boone’s place at quarterback and is set to start regardless of what decision is made with Boone on Friday or Saturday.

Also on Thursday, Cutcliffe said starting linebacker Kelby Brown is questionable to play against Navy and will be a game-time decision.

Brown suffered a lower leg injury on Sept. 21 against Pittsburgh and missed Duke’s 38-31 win over Troy on Sept. 28. He made steady progress toward a return while the Blue Devils had an open week.

But with Navy running an option offense that calls for its linemen to cut block, Cutcliffe is concerned with exposing Brown to a hit that would exacerbate the injury.

“Against this style of offense, if he can’t protect himself, he can’t play,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s about his mobility – if he can play and protect himself. If he feels pretty good but he’s not mobile, then he becomes a target.”

Kyler Brown, Kelby’s brother who also plays linebacker, will not play against Navy. That means C.J. France, David Helton and Deion Williams will get the snaps at linebacker.

Safety Dwayne Norman is set to return to the starting lineup after missing the Troy game with a leg injury. Freshman wide receiver Johnell Barnes, who has a fractured hand, will not play against Navy, Cutcliffe said.

That means redshirt freshman DeVon Edwards will handle Duke’s main kick-return duties.