Miami Hurricanes could be without two starting defensive ends at Virginia Tech

Defensive end Chad Thomas (left) watches as injured teammate Demetrius Jackson is tended to during Miami’s loss to UNC. (Getty Images)

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Updated 4:45 p.m. 

Both of Miami’s starting defensive ends — and two backup defensive linemen — were listed on the injury report the team released Tuesday afternoon, two days before its game at Virginia Tech.

Junior Chad Thomas was listed as “questionable” with an “upper extremity” injury, and redshirt sophomore Demetrius Jackson was listed as “out” with a “lower extremity” injury.

Jackson injured his knee last week against North Carolina, the source said. Thomas, who played with a broken hand last week, has another injury the source did not disclose. Neither practiced Monday or Tuesday, a source told The Post.

Thomas leads Miami in tackles for loss (8.0) and is tied with Jackson for the lead in sacks (3.5). Jackson has 5.5 tackles for loss. The two were teammates and won a state title together at Miami-Booker T. Washington High.

In Thomas’ place, true freshman Joe Jackson would make his first career start in Blacksburg, Va. (7 p.m., ESPN). The other starter would be junior Trent Harris, who has 12 career starts but was playing behind Jackson.

Miami’s only other healthy defensive end on scholarship is true freshman Pat Bethel, who has played mostly on special teams.

“It’s been an unusual year, no doubt, with guys being in and out of the lineup,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “But we’ll see. We’ll have 11 [players] the first play of the game Thursday night.”

Also ruled out by UM: redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Gerald Willis and redshirt freshman defensive end Scott Patchan, both of whom have “lower extremity” injuries and did not play last week.

Willis, who sprained his MCL (knee) against FSU, has been one of the Hurricanes’ most productive defensive linemen. He has 5.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in four games off the bench this year.

Patchan, a source said, had surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus. It is his third knee surgery. After a year and a half rehabbing two knee injuries, he made his Miami debut against Florida State. He played a brief stretch — and pressured the quarterback — before departing with the injury.

A source said backup defensive tackle Anthony Moten, a junior, would slide to end. Miami has been using senior tight end Stan Dobard as a defensive end in practices this week, but Diaz said it’s unreasonable to expect him to learn the position in time to play.

Update (6:28 p.m. Tuesday) 

Meanwhile, the Hokies have injury issues of their own. Standout defensive end Ken Ekanem, the team’s sack leader (4.5), and fellow starter Nigel Williams, a defensive tackle, were listed as “questionable” on Virginia Tech’s injury report.

 

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