Sick bay: Irish injuries keep mounting into bye week

Sick bay: Irish injuries keep mounting into bye week
November 12, 2013, 3:15 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's bye week couldn't have come at a better time, and not just from the standpoint of rebounding from a disappointing loss Saturday at Pitt. The already banged-up Irish sustained a few more injuries Saturday at Heinz Field, but will have an extra week to recover and replenish depth across a few critical positions.

Center Nick Martin broke his snapping hand in the first quarter against Pitt, but remained in the game and was able to get the ball to Tommy Rees without any issues. Specifically, Martin broke a knuckle on his snapping hand -- a "boxer's fracture," coach Brian Kelly said -- and will be put in a cast.

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Kelly, though, expects Martin to be able to play with the cast for Notre Dame's next game, Nov. 23 at home against BYU.

On the defensive line, Isaac Rochell and Jarron Jones suffered ankle sprains at Pitt and are in walking boots. Kelly said both are day-to-day.

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If both are limited against BYU, Kelly is hopeful he'll get Kona Schwenke (ankle) and Ishaq Williams (knee) back for that game. Schwenke's immobilizing cast was removed Tuesday, and Kelly said he was feeling "pretty good" while wearing the cast. 

Kelly said Williams has gone from a Grade 2 to a Grade 1 sprain, and while he won't be 100 percent a week from Saturday the hope is he can contribute in some way against BYU.

With so many injuries, Kelly isn't having his team practice during the bye week. The risk and impact of another injury, especially along the defensive line, is too great.

Notre Dame saw what that emergency situation looked like for a few plays against Pitt, and it involved linebackers Carlo Calabrese and Romeo Okwara lining up as defensive tackles.

"The guys that I would be practicing, they need to play a considerable amount of time for us against BYU and Stanford," Kelly said. "We're just at that point where, look, if I knew going out and practicing two or three days was gonna benefit us greatly in the BYU game, I'd be out there right now and we would not be talking.

"But it's in my estimation we could have a situation with diminished returns that would put us in jeopardy."