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Duke LB Kelby Brown with miss season with a torn ACL

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John David Mercer/USA Today Sports
Duke will be without the services of All-ACC linebacker Kelby Brown in 2014.

Duke linebacker Kelby Brown, a preseason first-team All-ACC pick, will miss the season with a torn left ACL.

Brown, who was a first-team All-ACC pick last season, when he had 114 tackles, missed the 2012 season with a torn right ACL.

He suffered his latest injury Monday night, on the second play of Duke's first scrimmage of fall camp, and Duke announced Tuesday morning that he needed surgery and would miss the season.

Brown (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) is a fifth-senior year and could petition the NCAA for a sixth season.

He and senior David Helton, who led the ACC with 133 tackles last season, would've formed perhaps the best linebacker duo in the ACC this fall. Brown's injury now means Helton is one of just two returning starters in the front six (Duke uses a 4-2-5 set).

Senior C.J. France (6-0, 230) replaced Brown in the starting lineup in 2012 and seems likely to do so again. France has started 12 games in his career, with 10 of the starts coming in '12.

Good news for Duke is that France is experienced and that the early-season schedule is easy. Duke has non-conference games against Elon, Troy, Kansas and Tulane before opening ACC play against Miami on Sept. 27, giving the rebuilt front six time to mesh without facing any powerful opponents.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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