Last week, Duke lost its top defensive performer to an injury that will cost the player, linebacker Kelby Brown, the entire 2014 season.
Nearly a week later, the serious injury bug has slammed headfirst into the other side of the ball.
The Blue Devils confirmed Monday that Braxton Deaver suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during Monday’s practice. As a result, obviously, the tight end will be sidelined for all of the 2014 season.
No date for surgery to repair the damage has been determined.
“This certainly seems redundant after Kelby’s injury last week, but again our thoughts and prayers lie with Braxton and his family with this news,”a statement from head coach David Cutcliffe began. “While we’ll miss his presence on the field, the priorities with Braxton right now shift to his health and spirit. We do know that Braxton will continue to be a valued member of our program going forward.”
There is an outside chance Deaver will have recovered sufficiently to participate in spring practice next year, although that seems unlikely. He should, though, be fully healed by the time summer camp rolls around… should he decide to return.
Deaver is a redshirt senior who missed all of the 2012 season with myriad injuries — ACL tear, fractured knee cap, broken thumb — to go along with this ACL issue. Because of that, he could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, an appeal that would most certainly be approved.
The loss of Deaver is a significant blow to the offense. Deaver started all 14 games for the Blue Devils, finishing second on the team in receptions (46), receiving yards (600) and receiving touchdowns (four).
Deaver was suspended for the start of summer camp this year for unspecified reasons.
Deaver’s injury continued a rough stretch for the football program over the past several months. In addition to Brown’s injury, 2013 (because of injury) starting quarterback Brandon Connette transferred out — ultimately landing at Fresno State — while running back Jela Duncan is suspended for the entire 2014 season due to academic issues. At the time of his suspension last December, he was the Blue Devils leading rusher.