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Lewis-Moore out for year

Andrew Owens | Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Following Saturday’s 31-17 loss to USC that effectively ruined any Irish BCS Bowl-game aspirations, Notre Dame was dealt another blow when senior defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore’s season was ended due to a knee injury.

“[Lewis-Moore] has a knee injury. I think I said I thought he had an ankle injury, but that wasn’t the case. It was a knee injury,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.

“It was a very unusual injury … We’re still talking four to six months [that Lewis-Moore will be out]. But [the injury is] one that I haven’t seen in 21 years and our doctors have seen very rarely, so it was hard to get a good assessment on him until the MRI yesterday.”

Sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees, junior safety Zeke Motta and senior defensive end Ethan Johnson all practiced Tuesday after injuries sustained Saturday or, in Johnson’s case, two weeks ago.

With Johnson not at full strength and Lewis-Moore out for the season, Notre Dame (4-3) will depend on some younger players to take on a larger role, Kelly said.

“Well, you know, you’ve got great flexibility because we have [freshman defensive end] Chase Hounshell activated,” he said. “Chase is in the mix. Certainly [sophomore defensive end] Kona [Schwenke] is the in mix, as well as [freshman defensive end Stephon] Tuitt has flexibility to play inside and outside. And if we can get some work from Ethan, that helps us out.”

The injuries come at an especially inopportune time with the Irish preparing to face Navy and its triple-option offense, a unit that gashed Notre Dame for 367 rushing yards in a 35-17 win in 2010.

“Kapron and Ethan probably have more experience against the option than anybody here in terms of actually understanding their jobs and what to do,” Kelly said. “But, you know, we’ll call on the next guy.”

In what Kelly called “Intense Tuesday,” the Irish were in full pads and hitting at practice as the team prepares for the Midshipmen.

“You know, I think we have to get into a routine that we practice similar to the way that we want to play without putting our team at risk for injury,” he said. “But certainly we have to have a very spirited practice during the week so that our football team is prepared to play the right way on Saturday. And that falls on me in terms of the preparation.”

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu