It looked bad on the field when Kyle Hamilton got rolled into on a third quarter fumble recovery, but it appears as though Notre Dame dodged a bullet and that Hamilton was not not injured badly despite not returning to the field.
Hamilton hobbled off the field on his own power after the play, but never returned to action. The good news at the time was he didn’t go back to the locker room or get carted off (as he would have if an ACL tear was feared). Brian Kelly has said, however, that Hamilton just suffered an ankle sprain and that he could have returned.
We should take the “he could have returned” bit with a grain of salt since colleges aren’t required to give fully accurate injury updates and reports like NFL teams but that is still very positive.
Losing Hamilton for an extended period of time or worse, for the year, would have been a major blow for Notre Dame’s chances at making a playoff run this year. In the first half alone, Hamilton picked up seven tackles. He had four on Duke’s first drive of the game alone.
We’ll see if there is any further clarification from Notre Dame on Sunday to the severity of the injury, but one would think that his availability for South Florida could still be up in the air even if it us just an ankle sprain. Notre Dame should be able to beat the Bulls without Hamilton and given his importance to the Notre Dame defense, it would only make sense for Notre Dame to be extra cautious with him.
We’ll know more about how much, if any, time Hamilton will miss soon enough, but the important thing for now for the Irish is that it at least appears as though Hamilton’s injury was not as bad as it looked in real-time. That should have Notre Dame fans breathing a huge sigh of relief tonight.