Sources: Optimism Duke QB Leonard will play against Louisville

Thamel HouseespnOctober 28, 2023 at 07:30 AM ET2 min read

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard is a game-time decision at No. 18 Louisville today, according to ESPN sources, and there is optimism about his chances to play.

Another high-ankle sprain in Leonard’s right ankle is not considered a major setback, a source told ESPN. He asked to return to the game last week, but the coaching staff did not allow it.

Leonard is expected to test it in warmups tonight before making a decision.

Leonard’s potential return for No. 20 Duke isn’t the only major injury update for Saturday’s ACC showdown. Sources told ESPN they expect Louisville star running back Johar Jordan, the ACC’s second-leading rusher (661 yards), to return.

Jordan left the Pitt game early due to a hamstring injury, and sources indicated that his return is expected today. He’s averaging 7.4 yards per carry, the most among ACC rushers who have received big carries this season.

Both players are among the most important players for each team, and both are stacked behind Florida State (7-0, 5-0 ACC) with one loss in the ACC. Duke is 5-2 overall and 2-1 in ACC play and Louisville is 6-1 and 3-1. Saturday’s game will be pivotal in competing for a spot in the ACC title game.

Leonard limped off the field last week after taking an illegal hit from Florida State defensive lineman Braden Fisk, who was called for wearing a face mask after Leonard’s helmet was torn off. On the way down, Leonard apparently developed a serious condition in his ankle, as he struggled to pull himself together to get off the field.

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After the game, coach Mike Elko said Leonard was “begging me” to come back, but Elko didn’t feel comfortable. Leonard suffered a sprained ankle just three weeks before Duke’s home loss to Notre Dame.

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