Duke's Matheis, Lobb Sidelined with Injuries
|Duke senior defenseman Henry Lobb is out indefinitely with injury. (Kevin P. Tucker)|
DURHAM, N.C. -- Defending national champion and Lacrosse Magazine preseason No. 1 Duke will open the season on Saturday without two of its key players. Sophomore attackman Case Matheis and senior defenseman Henry Lobb are both sidelined due to injury.
Matheis has not practiced since Tuesday with what Duke coach John Danowski said was an upper-body injury, but Matheis is not expected to be out long-term. Lobb, meanwhile, injured his right leg in practice about two weeks ago and is out indefinitely, although Danowski said the team plans to have him back before the end of the season. Lobb, out with officially termed a lower-body injury, was on crutches during Duke's practice on Friday.
"We're hoping he's going to be back, but you know how that stuff goes," Danowski said of Lobb. "Every kid is different."
The injuries alter what had been the Blue Devils' projected starting lineup heading into its season-opener at 1 p.m. ET against Atlantic Sun favorite Jacksonville.
Matheis started 16 games his freshman season, finishing with 28 goals and 24 assists, alongside Lacrosse Magazine's 2014 preseason player of the year finalist Jordan Wolf and Josh Dionne en route to Duke winning a national championship. Sophomore Chad Cohan, who played in only five games last year with no points, is slated to start in Matheis' place, according to Duke's official game notes.
Lobb has been a stalwart defender for the Duke defense throughout his career and was picked in the fourth round by Major League Lacrosse's Charlotte Hounds in January's draft. He has drawn top assignments throughout his career, including in last year's final four where he had the almost exclusive job of covering Cornell's Rob Pannell.
Lobb's injury shuffles sophomore defenseman Jamie Ikeda, who played eight games a season ago, into a starting close defenseman spot alongside Chris Hipps and sixth-year senior Casey Carroll, who was expected to be the Blue Devils' third close defenseman.
Carroll will play in his first game on Saturday since the 2007 national title game, after serving multiple deployments as an Army Ranger and tearing his ACL last January in an attempt to come back last season. Luke Duprey mans the long-stick midfield position for a unit that now has volunteer assistant coach Ben DeLuca, formerly of Cornell, working with it along with Danowski.