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August 19, 2010

Injuries mount; Ara speaks

Brian Kelly didn't plan to talk to the media after practice on Thursday.

But with a half-dozen frontline players out injured, the Irish head coach provided some reassurance for a fan base hanging on every tweaked hamstring during training camp. The short of it, according to Kelly, is that Notre Dame doesn't have a single player in danger of missing the Purdue game. The long of it is a little more detailed.

Kyle Rudolph, Anthony McDonald, Matt Romine, Andrew Nuss, Dan Wenger and Ian Williams all missed practice. However, Kelly expects them all back by Wednesday of next week.

"Nobody that I'm concerned about going into Purdue," Kelly said. "Just pretty much your typical two-a-days, guys banged up."

Rudolph's summer hamstring injury continues to dog the tight end. Kelly has been ultra-cautious with the potential All-American throughout camp and doesn't plan to use him during Friday's practice, camp's final workout. With Notre Dame breaking Saturday, Kelly sees an opportunity to steal some extra rest.

"I think the only guy that you guys would probably be interested in is Kyle Rudolph," Kelly said. "We've decided to kind of shut him down through the weekend because we're going to have Saturday off and then come back full go on Monday."

Kelly said McDonald suffered a hyper-extended knee that left the inside linebacker with a single crutch Thursday. The junior went down during a goal line drill after his foot planted and he got knocked back.

"He's sore right now until that bruising settles down," Kelly said. "Believe me, we check and recheck. There's no laxity in the knee, there's no end points, all those things you concern yourself with. Big swelling, we had none of that."

Williams missed practice with a toe infection. Wenger and Romine were held out with effects from last week's concussions still lingering.

"We're being very cautious with them because of the heat, but they're making good progress," Kelly said.

Kelly added that safety Danny McCarthy had a minor hamstring injury.

Ara speaks, Irish listen

Before practice two-time national championship Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian spoke to the team. Several players didn't recognize the silver-haired man who led the Irish to titles in 1966 and 1973, but they knew the name when Brian Kelly introduced him. Then they listened to the Notre Dame icon deliver a message they hear everyday.

"It was funny because he relayed exactly what coach Kelly has been preaching the whole time," said Christian Lombard. "It's about mental toughness because everyone out here is the man. It's going to take something extra to get to that next level."

It was the first time many of Notre Dame's players had heard Parseghian speak. Based on the reaction, it probably won't be the last.

"It was really cool to be on the field and have him come out and really take control of the huddle," Kelly said. "Listen, this was not walking out a guy that doesn't have an aura about him. He walked out there, took over the huddle right away and talked about toughness, mental toughness and physical toughness and what it takes to win. It was just a great message."







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