SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame will enter the 2014 season relatively healthy, with injuries only keeping two players out of Saturday's season opener against Rice.
Inside linebacker Jarrett Grace (leg) and wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (groin) will miss this weekend's game, though coach Brian Kelly both players are making good progress.
Hunter has ran on Notre Dame's zero gravity treadmill, which allows him to run at 20 to 30 percent of his body weight. Kelly said Hunter's ability to do that is "a really good sign."
"Maybe I'm a little bit too optimistic, but I think Torii Hunter is ahead of progress in terms of where we thought he would be," Kelly said. "… Maybe he runs next week, and we will see where we are in Purdue week, but I would say he's probably ahead of schedule."
Hunter initially was expected to miss four to six weeks with a Grade 3 groin tear in early August, so if he's potentially available for Sept. 13's game against Purdue it'd be about a five-week absence.
When Hunter returns, Kelly said he'll take freshman Justin Brent's place on the depth chart backing up Corey Robinson.
Kelly didn't have a specific update on Grace other than saying the senior is "better every day." Grace, who underwent surgery last October for a broken leg and had another procedure in March, isn't expected back until at least a few weeks into the season.