SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame senior safety and team captain Austin Collinsworth will miss two to four weeks with a Grade 2 MCL sprain, coach Brian Kelly said after Saturday's 48-17 win over Rice.
Collinsworth suffered the injury in practice on Thursday when he landed awkwardly defending a pass during two-minute drill work. Kelly said there's a chance Collinsworth returns for Notre Dame's Sept. 13 game against Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium, but likely will be back by Sept. 27 against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium. Notre Dame has a bye the week of Sept. 20.
Junior Elijah Shumate started in place of Collinsworth against Rice, but senior Matthias Farley and junior Nicky Baratti rotated in quite a bit over the course of the afternoon. While the Irish secondary had a few coverage breakdowns, Farley did pick off a pass that set up Everett Golson's 53-yard touchdown pass just before the end of the first half.
Collinsworth was named as one of Notre Dame's four team captains earlier this week and was set to join Joe Schmidt and fifth-year Florida transfer Cody Riggs as the only senior starters on the Irish defense. Collinsworth intercepted three passes and totaled 43 tackles in 2013, starting 11 of 13 games.
Collinsworth was on crutches but joined captains Nick Martin, Cam McDaniel and Sheldon Day at midfield for the coin toss prior to Saturday's game and remained a vocal presence on the sidelines.
"Austin’s our leader," Riggs said. "He was on the sideline coaching guys up and making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do. Having him on the sideline was really helpful. He’s a leader, and although we miss him, he does a great job of making sure everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing even though he’s hurt right now.”