Sources: Duke QB Leonard has high ankle sprain


Duke junior quarterback Riley Leonard has a high right ankle sprain and has a realistic chance of returning later this month for the Blue Devils, sources told ESPN on Sunday.

Leonard is expected to miss multiple weeks, sources told ESPN. Duke has a bye this week before hosting NC State (Oct. 14), then playing at Florida State (Oct. 21) and at Louisville (Oct. 28).

His return vs. NC State is uncertain, sources told ESPN.

Leonard suffered the injury late in the Blue Devils’ 21-14 loss to then-No. 11 Notre Dame, and he left the field on crutches — a macabre ending where Leonard’s injury on a strip sack essentially ended the game. He got sacked on a clean play by Notre Dame’s Howard Cross, and Leonard’s ankle clearly twisted at an awkward angle.

Leonard needed help from teammates to leave the field and wasn’t putting pressure on his right foot. He later went to the injury tent, where Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman, who previously played in the ACC at Wake Forest, waited outside to check on him after the game had ended.

The scene went viral after Hartman cut short his postgame interview to check on Leonard.

Leonard has been one of the breakout players of the 2023 season, leading Duke (4-1) to a No. 17 ranking in the Associated Press poll, the school’s highest ranking since 1994. Duke fell to No. 19 in the latest poll released Sunday.

He has thrown for 912 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns, his dual-threat ability keeping the opposition off-balance.

Duke is relatively inexperienced behind Leonard, as redshirt freshman Henry Belin is the expected starter until Leonard returns.

Belin, who has appeared in three career games, would be making his first start if Leonard isn’t healthy vs. NC State. He completed all eight of his pass attempts against Lafayette.

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