SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Third-string Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire has been cleared for cardiovascular work, but not contact as he continues to recover from mononucleosis.
Zaire, a freshman who enrolled early last winter, has been ruled out of Notre Dame's first two games. He hadn't been cleared for cardio until this week.
Coach Brian Kelly said Zaire will be able to run and throw in practice, but the spleen enlargement caused by mono means he hasn't been cleared for contact yet. Luke Massa is penciled in as Notre Dame's third-string quarterback for the third straight week.
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Zaire's status is of some importance given this possible scenario: Starter Tommy Rees gets hurt, and backup Andrew Hendrix's helmet pops off and he's forced to miss a play (or, too, both could get injured). Massa was recruited to Notre Dame as a quarterback but converted to wide receiver.
"We're moving in the right direction," Kelly said. "(Zaire's) not officially cleared yet. We wouldn't know that until later in the week."