While Notre Dame has avoided the major injury this fall camp, that doesn’t mean the Irish aren’t battling an assorted allotment of bumps and bruises. Yesterday, a handful of starters were held out of practice, with Kyle Rudolph, Chris Stewart, Jamoris Slaughter, and Anthony McDonald all missing significant chunks of time, though mostly for precautionary reasons. Key back-up Steve Paskorz, who was working into the rotation at Will linebacker with McDonald’s injury leaving him doubtful for Purdue, also suffered a knee-injury of some sort, during a non-contact situation.
After practice, Brian Kelly updated the media on the assortment of injuries.
On Chris Stewart:
“He’s just sore. His neck is sore. He has his helmet on and the big fellow is moving around. He’ll be fine.”
On Jamoris Slaughter:
“We’re holding back on Jamoris. He has a little bit of a groin and we are just being cautious with him right now. He has done a nice job. We don’t want to be in a position where we are six, seven, eight days out and we pull a hamstring and be out for the first game. That just doesn’t make any sense.”
Kelly also gave some more insight on Paskorz injury, the severity of which has yet to be determined.
“They looked at his knee. He stepped wrong on the field, it was a non-contact situation. They have to go look at it and we won’t know anything until they get in there and get their hands on him.”
Kelly wouldn’t take any bait from the reporters trying to insinuate that the injury was a potentially major one.
“I mean, this is all doom and gloom around here,” Kelly said jokingly. “My goodness, nobody is out. I don’t even know what his situation is. For me to even comment on Steve Paskorz being out, I haven’t even thought of that.”
One thing is for certain, is that the philosophy for Kelly hasn’t changed.
“Next man in,” Kelly said. “Posluszny and Fox have been working a lot in there. We are not going to leave ourselves shorthanded. We are going to have somebody ready to go and we trust the guys that we are going to put on the field.”
While Kelly didn’t touch on the lingering injury to his star tight end, Kyle Rudolph was confident he’ll be ready come next Saturday.
“Our goal is Purdue,” Rudolph said. “Our eyes are on the first game and we’re doing everything we can on a day-to-day basis to get completely read for that day… We don’t want something now, 10 days away from Purdue, that will set me back and that will keep me from playing against Purdue.”
Off all the injuries of note, Rudolph’s might be the one to keep the closest eye on, just because of the tricky nature of hamstrings. That said, if there’s one large question mark on defense, it’s the inside linebacker spot next to Manti Te’o. With both McDonald and Paskorz injured, Carlo Calabrese has become the front-runner for the starting position next Saturday. I’m interested to see if Kelly and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will work more mobile players like Posluszny and Fox into the mix against a Purdue team that will likely spread it out, and take advantage of the athleticism both reserves bring to the table.