Brian Kelly fed the rumor mill Thursday night during his post-practice meeting with the media, but shared important details earlier in the day on starting quarterback Ian Book’s injury with Notre Dame’s student newspaper in an exclusive interview.
The most significant of which that he shared with The Observer was that Book’s rib injury didn’t involve an internal injury and that it isn’t expected to linger into next week’s matchup with 13th-ranked Syracuse at Yankee Stadium.
The No. 3 Irish (9-0) host Florida State (4-5) Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium (7:30 EST; NBC-TV) in the season’s final home game. Demoted senior starter Brandon Wimbush will make his first start since Sept. 15. Book will not play for precautionary reasons, Kelly told The Observer.
“He got kneed,” Kelly said of the Book injury that occurred during the first quarter of last Saturday’s 31-21 win at Northwestern last Saturday night. “This is really much more of a rib injury. But as you know, when we’re talking about a rib injury, there’s a grade that can go from broken ribs to bruised ribs to internal injuries.
“So from this perspective, if he had severe kidney issues, that’s four to six weeks. We’re not dealing with that. … We think he’ll be prepared to play next week.’’
Book leads the nation in completion percentage (.745) and is sixth in passing efficiency (170.0).
“If Ian Book was in a position where we didn’t feel like we would heighten his medical risks, he would have played,” Kelly said. “And I think that, that at the end of the day, is really the crux of the decision.”
The Observer scored an exclusive interview with Wimbush earlier in the day.
“I do agree (I’m better now),” Wimbush said. “I’ve taken it personally over those past six weeks to kind of improve my game, and you really get to do that from a different perspective when you’re the backup.
“I think I’ve done the little things and focused on the little details and fundamentals of playing quarterback to get me to where I am today. So, hopefully, that shows on Saturday.”