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Duke star Ryan Kelly targets senior night return from foot injury

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Injured Duke big man Ryan Kelly spoke to reporters Sunday for the first time since injuring his right foot January 8 against Clemson and said he hopes to return for senior night at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5 when the Blue Devils will play host to Virginia Tech.

Kelly started each of the Blue Devils' first 15 games this season. He was playing 28 minutes a game and averaging 13 points and five rebounds at the time of his injury. His teammates struggled initially without him losing two of its first three games after Kelly was hurt, but the Blue Devils have now won eight of their past nine games.

Kelly has missed the past 12 games because of the injury which occurred to the same foot that he injured late last season as a junior. That injury cost him the 2012 ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament.

Kelly told reporters he has still has work to do and it's unlikely he will play in either of the Blue Devils' games before senior night.

Kelly has watched Duke games from the bench in street clothes including its 89-68 victory over Boston College on Sunday. If Kelly can return on senior night, he will have two regular season games to tune up for postseason play. The Blue Devils wrap up the regular season March 9 at North Carolina.

Adding Kelly's 3-point shooting (53 percent) and defense will be a big boost to a team already pegged as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

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