Mar 29, 2014, 4:58 PM EDT
Senior linebacker Jarrett Grace underwent another surgery on his injured right leg. Grace had a rod inserted to help stimulate bone growth Friday, as he continues his recovery from a broken fibula suffered against Arizona State last year. The surgery will hopefully help the rising senior linebacker recover in time for next season.
“Remember he had four breaks there,” Kelly told a group of reporters after Saturday’s practice. “So the surgery went very well. I just talked to Brian Ratigan. All four of those came together very well.
“If he went in there and there was instability in the four breaks, I think there would have been some concern as to whether he could make it back in the fall. But the indication is there has been some great growth in there.”
Grace had been seen at practice this spring out of uniform and walking with a pronounced limp still. The presumed starter at inside linebacker, Grace’s injury takes a position with not a lot of depth and continues to throw it up in the air.
The primary beneficiary from Grace’s injury seems to be Joe Schmidt. The former walk-on linebacker continues to hold down the inside linebacker job, quickly grasping Brian VanGorder’s new scheme. While Schmidt will likely stay on the field in sub-packages or passing downs, Grace is undoubtedly the team’s best inside linebacker, with the 6-foot-2.5, 253-pounder athletic enough to hold up against the pass, but stout against the run game as well.
The Irish medical staff will wait six weeks before checking on the surgically repaired fibula. Everyone involved is still holding out hope that Grace will be ready to compete in the fall.
“What we’re saying is that in six weeks, if we get the kind of growth that we’re expecting, he’ll be ready for the fall,” Kelly said. “We’re hoping to get good news in six weeks, is the best way to put it.”