Sprained MCL could sideline OL Tommy Kraemer for remainder of Notre Dame's regular season

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Tommy Kraemer could miss the rest of Notre Dame’s regular season.

The starting right guard sprained the MCL in his left knee in Saturday night’s loss at Michigan. On Monday, head coach Brian Kelly estimated Kraemer could be sidelined anywhere from four to six weeks. The injury will not require surgery.

Four weeks from Monday, the Irish will start preparing for their regular season finale at Stanford. The 6-foot-6, 319-pound Kraemer, a senior, still has one year of eligibility remaining beyond this season.

Against Michigan, graduate student Trevor Ruhland replaced Kraemer. Prior to the Michigan game, Ruhland had only played this season late in blowouts over New Mexico and Bowling Green.

“We thought he did very well for a guy that had not played all year,” Kelly said of Ruhland. “We liked his activity, working up to the second level on backers which we did not do a great job of.”

The 6-foot-4, 292-pound Ruhland started five games for Notre Dame last season. He made his first career start at Wake Forest in place of an injured Kraemer. Ruhland filled in at left guard for two starts against Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh after Alex Bars went down with a season-ending knee injury. Ruhland also started the Navy and Northwestern games ahead of Kraemer.

Kelly said junior Josh Lugg (6-7, 307) would also play at right guard while Kraemer’s sidelined.

Kraemer was named to the Associated Press’ midseason All-America second team earlier this month. His improved play helped the Irish offensive line land on the midseason honor roll for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to college football’s top offensive line.

Other personnel updates

• Running back Tony Jones Jr., who didn’t play in the second half of Notre Dame’s loss to Michigan, isn’t expected to miss more time. Jones is dealing with sore ribs, Kelly said, and plans to practice Tuesday.

• Junior wide receiver Michael Young has officially entered the transfer portal, Kelly confirmed Monday. Young did not travel with the Irish to Michigan and has played in only three games this season. Sitting out the rest of the season would allow him to redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility. If Young graduates before transferring, he would be eligible to play for two years immediately at another FBS program.

Rght guard Tommy Kraemer’s knee injury may sideline him for the remainder of Notre Dame’s regular season