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ND’s Louis Nix III will miss trip to Air Force

USC v Notre Dame

USC v Notre Dame

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SOUTH BEND — Knee tendinitis will keep Louis Nix III grounded for Notre Dame’s trip to Air Force.

The nose guard will not travel with the team to Colorado, coach Brian Kelly said during his Thursday news conference.

“He’s not prepared to play,” Kelly said. “When you are playing an option team, you really need work. And he hasn’t been able to practice, so we’re not going to take him with us.”

Kona Schwenke will be filling the huge void.

Nix has 22 tackles this season. Schwenke has appeared in all seven games, including three starts. He’s made seven tackles.

“It’s more his knee,” Kelly said of the setback. “He has more tendinitis, just soreness, and hasn’t really been able to get in there.”

Kelly said the team is “hopeful” Nix will be able to play Nov. 2 against Navy.

“He’s moving around pretty good. He just wasn’t able to take any reps,” Kelly said. “We’re running against an option team and to throw him in there without really being able to engage the way you need those guys to be engaged, it doesn’t make any sense to play him.”

Notre Dame also suffered a blow to its offensive line. Starting right guard Christian Lombard will miss the rest of the season after having back surgery.

“He’s had a back issue, a disc, and that disc herniated in conditioning,” Kelly said. “We had to go in (Wednesday) immediately and he had a discectomy. They took out about a four-centimeter herniation of his disc. He’ll be lost for the season.

Lombard had started all seven games this season. Steve Elmer is slated to take his place.

Notre Dame will likely be without safety Elijah Shumate for a second week in a row. Shumate will travel with the team to Air Force, but won’t start.

“He’s probably in an emergency situation right now. It will be (Mathias) Farley and (Austin) Collinsworth as the one-two right now,” Kelly said. “It will be similar to USC, although Shumate is closer to helping us in an emergency situation.”

It wasn’t all tough news for Notre Dame on Thursday.

Quarterback Tommy Rees took another step toward starting Saturday. The senior quarterback, who missed most of the second half against USC because of a strained neck, took all of the first-team reps at Thursday’s practice.

“Tommy Rees had a great week,” Kelly said.



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