Brian Kelly gave Notre Dame fans a bit of good injury news on Thursday when he said that Kevin Austin could be back on the practice field shortly. Austin, the projected #1 receiver in the Irish offense, has been sidelined since surgery in late July.
Kelly updated the media that Austin recently had his 6-week scan and is out of the walking boot he’s been in since the surgery. Austin has also has begun some running progressions. Notre Dame will give Austin another scan in two weeks, and at that time, it’s possible he could be cleared for practice.
When Notre Dame originally announced Austin’s injury at the end of July, the initial speculation was that he could possibly be back by the end of September just based on typical recovery time. When Brian Kelly talked to the media for the first time following the announcement, though, he reset expectations of an 8-12 week timeframe for Austin’s return.
If Austin can return to the practice field in two weeks, that could possibly make a return for Florida State on October 10 possible though that could still be a bit optimistic. Even if Florida State is optimistic, October 17 vs. Louisville – which is probably the tougher game at this point – would seem likely based on a return to practice in two weeks.
Notre Dame missed Austin last week while having some of their receivers a bit out of position as they realigned their receiving corps with Austin and Braden Lenzy both out. Lenzy returns this weekend though the Irish will be without Bennett Skowronek. With Lenzy in the lineup, Javon McKinley will move back to the boundary position where he’s been more effective historically.
The real takeaway is that Notre Dame could have Kevin Austin back on the practice field soon and that is great news for the Notre Dame offense.