Duke Thursday injury update
With Duke’s defense facing its biggest challenge of the season against Georgia Tech this Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPNU), the Blue Devils will have a few changes in their rotation due to injury situations.
First, the addition.
It appears linebacker C.J. France is set to make his 2013 debut for the Blue Devils. A projected starter, France has missed Duke’s first two games due to an ankle injury suffered last month in training camp.
But Duke coach David Cutcliffe said France has practiced and is listed as probable on the injury report for Saturday’s game.
A veteran who has started 10 games, played in 24 and been on the field for 1,043 snaps in his career, France gives Duke another solid player as it preps for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense.
“He was a starter when he went out,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s a guy that can rotate. This game, you are going to need linebacker play.”
France’s return means Duke has starters Kelby Brown and David Helton, plus Kyler Brown (Kelby’s brother) and Deion Williams in the rotation.
And now for the subtractions on defense.
Reserves A.J. Wolf (defensive tackle) and Deondre Singleton (safety) both suffered leg injuries in practice this week.
Wolf has already been ruled out, while Singleton is considered doubtful.
Wolf gave Duke depth behind redshirt senior Sydney Sarmiento in the middle of the defensive line. Jamal Wallace and Keilin Rayner, who have played a combined 11 snaps so far this season, are now in line for more playing time against the Yellow Jackets.
In the secondary, Cutcliffe said he can slide all-ACC cornerback Ross Cockrell over to safety on some plays to make up for Singleton not being available. Duke’s starting safeties are Jeremy Cash, Corbin McCarthy and Dwayne Norman.
Having Cockrell see a few snaps at safety will also allow Duke to get freshmen Breon Borders and Bryon Fields playing time that Cutcliffe said they deserve.
“They have continued to practice at a level you like to see,” Cutcliffe said. “One of the things you want to do is play people that are practicing well. It sends a bad signal if you are practicing really well and you don’t play on Saturday.”
Another player who could help Duke’s defense, defensive end Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, was able to practice on a limited basis this week. But Cutcliffe said he remains doubtful to make his 2013 debut against Georgia Tech.
“We worked him some,” Cutcliffe said, “but it doesn’t look great.”
Here is the rest of Duke’s injury report, which now includes starting quarterback Anthony Boone (broken right clavicle):
LB C.J. France (lower body)
DE Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (leg), S Deondre Singleton (lower body)
RE Eric Adams (upper body), OT Casey Blaser (hand), QB Anthony Boone (upper body), CB Jared Boyd (leg), DE Britton Grier (upper body), QB Thomas Sirk (leg), WR Jack Wise (upper body), DT A.J. Wolf (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON
OT Tanner Stone (leg)