SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Chris Watt called it "one of the toughest things I ever had to do here."
After participating in warmups prior to Saturday's game against Navy, the Notre Dame offensive lineman went to position coach Harry Hiestand and told him he couldn't play that afternoon.
Watt suffered a torn PCL the week prior at Air Force, an injury that sounds worse than it actually is, according to Watt and coach Brian Kelly. It won't require surgery at any point, and the pain from it subsided to the point where it's been manageable. But there's a lingering, somewhat vague sense of instability in Watt's injured knee, and after only practicing once leading up to the Navy game he wasn't able to trust himself to do what he normally can.
"It was pretty tough for me, but right away I kinda had to snap out of that and be a good teammate," Watt said. "I couldn't let me team down by going out there and being selfish and trying to play on something that won't help us win."
For the first time since 2010, Watt didn't start for the Irish, giving way to Conor Hanratty at left guard. The feeling of instability is mental at this point -- "by the bowl game, I probably won't even notice it," Watt said -- and the task has become adjusting and accommodating for it. Watt expects a full week of practice to help with that, and already felt far better about his knee in speaking to the media after Wednesday's practice.
Getting used to moving laterally has been the biggest adjustment, though Watt said he ran a some screens and outside zones in practice this week and felt good about everything.
He said as long as he's not running at full speed he expects to be fine adjusting to the injury -- and as a guard, that's something he rarely has to do.
It's got to the point where quarterback/roommate Tommy Rees is ribbing Watt about his injury and it's relative severity.
"I give him a really hard time about it," Rees said. "I constantly tell him he's limping on the wrong leg, he's milking it -- I always ask him which leg it is again, trying to prompt him to mess up."
"He's been doing that, telling me to go buy some milk, things like that," Watt laughed. "But it's all in good fun."