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Duke is close to getting this injured starter back. Will he play Saturday night?

The player Duke considers its top wide receiver is on the verge of making his season debut.

Sophomore Jake Bobo, out since breaking his collarbone in practice last month, was medically cleared to play this week, Duke coach David Cutcliffe told The News & Observer this week.

Bobo traveled with the Blue Devils for their Saturday night game at Middle Tennessee State. A decision on whether or not to use him in the game has not been finalized, Duke spokesman Art Chase told The News & Observer Saturday.

Cutcliffe has regularly referred to the 6-4, 200-pound Bobo as his team’s best wide receiver. Bobo suffered the injury on Aug. 9 and has not been in uniform for Duke’s first two games, a 42-3 loss to Alabama and a 45-13 win over N.C. A&T.

If Bobo doesn’t play against Middle Tennessee State, he’s healed enough that he’s almost certain to play in Duke’s next game, Sept. 27 in its ACC opener at Virginia Tech.

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Freshman Jalon Calhoun replaced Bobo in the starting lineup at the slot receiver position, catching nine passes in the two games. He caught two touchdown passes against N.C. A&T.

Cutcliffe said on Tuesday that when Bobo returns, his versatility will allow him to move to another receiver slot to play along with Calhoun.

While Bobo made the trip to Middle Tennessee State with the team, junior running back Brittain Brown stayed home and will miss Saturday’s game due to an upper-body injury. The injury has limited Brown to only 10 carries for 27 yards this season. He carried three times for seven yards last Saturday against N.C. A&T before leaving the game due to his injury.

Duke is also without reserve safety Damani Neal, who is also out with an upper body injury.

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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