When Notre Dame announced that Kevin Austin suffered a foot injury that required surgery earlier this month, the hope was that the timeline for his return would be around eight weeks just based on a standard recovery from the injury. When Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly met with the media on Monday, however, he stated that Austin’s recovery would actually be between 8-12 weeks which casts some doubt on when the Irish could have him back.
“He can drive that cart all over the place. I think he’s a really good driver,” Kelly joked about Austin’s progression from his foot injury before stating, “It’s anywhere from eight to twelve weeks, depending on how he heals”
Right now, Austin is not yet able to put weight on his feet so how fast he heals is still up in the air. “He’s got to be off of his feet for the first four weeks. Then we can begin a rehab program for him.” Austin’s surgery was two weeks ago on August 3.
With a full 12 week recovery, Austin’s first real game action could conceivably by Clemson’s visit to Notre Dame Stadium on November 7. While it would certainly be ideal to have him for that contest, it wouldn’t necessarily be ideal for that to be his first game back. Greg wrote about the importance of Kevin Austin to the Notre Dame offense this year, long before his injury.
Originally, when it was speculated that his return would be closer to the eight week mark, there was some hope he could be back in time for Florida State’s visit to South Bend the first weekend of October. That timeframe now looks much less likely as that would be right at eight weeks out from surgery which sounds like it would be the earliest he could be back.
For Austin, it’s the latest setback in a career that has yet to take off despite having immense promise. After hardly seeing the field as a freshman in 2018, Austin sat out the 2019 season on a suspension that was never confirmed by the University – just as most disciplinary actions.
Despite the setback, Kelly said that Austin is taking things in stride and doing all he can to get back on the field. “He’s been really good, he’s got a great attitude. He’s taking all of the things that he needs to do at this time, to heart in terms of doing the little things to get him ahead of the game. “
At this point, an ideal return now looks like Notre Dame’s home game against Louisville on October 17 That would be a little over 10 weeks out from surgery and would give Austin multiple games to get back into the swing of things before Clemson visits. Notre Dame also travels to Pitt and Georgia Tech in between. Luckily, Notre Dame’s second-toughest game of the year, at North Carolina, falls after the Clemson showdown.
In Austin’s absence, expect to see a lot of Northwestern grad-transfer Bennett Skowronek who had a nice contested grab in yesterday’s practice video and perhaps even freshman Jordan Johnson who has been making waves as well. Grad student Javon McKinley will have one last opportunity for an extended role as well over the first two months of the season.