As Riley Leonard plays through a month-old sprained right ankle, Duke’s situation behind him on the quarterback depth chart is bumpy as well.
Redshirt freshman Henry Belin IV has an upper body injury that’s lingered for more than a month and still has him no more than 70% healthy, Duke coach Mike Elko said Tuesday.
The injury has him limited enough that freshman Grayson Loftis has been moved up from the scout team to get first-team repetitions in practices.
Leonard is attempting to get healthy enough to play on short rest as the Blue Devils play Wake Forest on Thursday night at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Having initially suffered a high ankle sprain on Sept. 30 against Notre Dame, Leonard missed one game before returning Oct. 21 in a 38-20 loss at Florida State. He re-injured the ankle in the third quarter and didn’t return after limping to the sideline. Belin, who started Duke’s 24-3 win over N.C. State on Oct. 14, finished the game against the Seminoles.
Leonard started in Duke’s 23-0 loss at Louisville on Saturday before Loftis played the fourth quarter in that one-sided loss. Loftis also finished Duke’s 41-7 win at Connecticut on Sept. 23 and, on Tuesday, Elko said that was due to Belin’s shoulder issue that has still not healed.
“He was a warrior for us and really gritted his teeth and played against State and played against Florida State,” Elko said. “But if you look at where he was at health wise in those two games, he was probably more injured than Riley was, to be honest with you. He just couldn’t move and run and do those types of things.”
Belin threw two touchdown passes against N.C. State but only completed 4 of 12 passes with one interception.
As Leonard plays on an ankle that’s healing but still tender enough that one misstep could send him to the sidelines again, Loftis is who Duke would turn to as a replacement.
“He’s progressing,” Elko said of Loftis’ work. “He’s been able to get a lot of reps. There’s been different weeks this year where we’ve had to shut Henry down and try to let that shoulder calm down. Last week was another one, and so he’s gotten a lot of reps.”
Kickoff time + TV channel for Duke-Wake Forest
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN, which is available on Spectrum cable and major satellite services like DirecTV and Dish Network.
How to stream the Blue Devils vs. Demon Deacons matchup
ESPN is available on major streaming platforms with local channels, like DIRECTV Stream, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling.
Duke is a 12.5-point favorite, with the over-under set at 44.5 points.
Game day details: Wake Forest vs Duke
Teams: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-4, 1-4 ACC) vs. Duke Blue Devils (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham
Date: Thursday, Nov. 2
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Betting line: Duke by 12.5 points
Series history: Duke leads the all-time series between the two schools, 59-41-2, and the Blue Devils won 34-31 in Durham last season.