Duke QB Boone's return now listed as day-to-day

Oct. 08, 2013 @ 08:06 PM

It’s been a month since Duke quarterback Anthony Boone fractured his right collarbone during a Blue Devil win at Memphis.

That might be enough time for it to heal enough for him to return to action.

Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday that Boone’s injury has progressed enough that he’s considered “day-to-day” as far as his availability to the Blue Devils.

“Anthony is better,” Cutcliffe said. “He is getting some work. We are still on a hold as far as any full speed work. That hold continues. We are letting him practice.”

Boone, a redshirt junior in his first season at Duke’s starting quarterback, was injured on Sept. 7 in the first half of a game Duke won 28-14 at Memphis. After a follow-up scan, Duke’s medical staff determined the broken bone wouldn’t require surgery.

Still, Boone was considered out indefinitely since a broken clavicle, particularly on a quarterback’s throwing shoulder, can take 6-8 weeks to heal.

However, Boone progressed enough to start throwing by Sept. 26. On that day, Cutcliffe said Duke’s bye week came at an opportune time.

On Tuesday, Cutcliffe explained Boone’s improvement curve since then.

“I think he’s gotten progressively better each week and, at this point now, a little every day,” Cutcliffe said. “So I would talk in terms of day-to-day in terms of Anthony Boone.”

In Boone’s absence, redshirt junior Brandon Connette finished the Memphis win and has started the three games since.

Duke is 1-2 with Connette as a starter, but he has completed 64.1 percent of his passes, amassing 1,022 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has also rushed for six touchdowns this season.

Connette’s play, Cutcliffe said, means he doesn’t have to stress about when Boone will return.

“As far as making a decision as to what quarterback you go with, normally it’s pretty easy when you have a starter and the guy’s ready to go, he just comes back and he’s the starter,” Cutcliffe said. “That’s certainly what my inclination always is. I think the tribute that’s involved here would be to Brandon Connette and how well he’s performed. He’s consistently gotten better. We don’t want to put Anthony in too early and get him hurt. We have the luxury that we don’t have to rush him. But also I would see Connette continuing with some form of role, as we’ve kind of always done around here, upon Anthony’s return.”

Since Boone has yet to be cleared to take contact, Connette continues to get first-team repetitions in practice.

Still, with his return characterized as day-to-day for the first time since his injury, a return for Saturday’s game with Navy isn’t out of the question.

Cutcliffe said Boone’s work in the training room and on the practice field, even in a limited basis, has been solid. He’s going through periodic clinical exams to test his arm strength and his ability to push and pull with his right arm. His ability to increase strength is important.

“Nobody is ready to say he’s ready,” Cutcliffe said. “I feel very good. He feels very good.”

While Boone is progressing, the news is not as promising for another Duke quarterback. Redshirt freshman Thomas Sirk ruptured his Achilles’ tendon last April and had surgery to repair it. He has been making steady progress toward being available to Duke ever since.

But Cutcliffe said Tuesday that Sirk strained his calf and is backing off some of his work.

“Just an overwork injury in his upper calf,” Cutcliffe said. “I don’t want to mess with Thomas Sirk. He’s too athletic. We’re going to back off. From the beginning I’ve commented to our medical people that the guy can fly and when he’s healed I want him to be able to fly.”