Irish optimistic about Grace's return

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame linebacker Jarrett Grace had surgery Friday to insert a rod into his injured leg, with the hope that the rod will further stabilize the leg, coach Brian Kelly said Saturday. Grace's progress will be measured in six weeks, and if all looks well, he is expected to be ready to play this fall.

"If he went in there and there was instability in the four breaks, I'd think there'd have been some concern as to whether he could make it back for the fall," Kelly said. "But the indication is that he had great growth there. The rod is for stabilization, and we'll know in six weeks. If he heals the way he did prior to [the surgery], there is great optimism that in six weeks we'll see on the X-rays and scans that he'll be ready for the fall."

Grace, a redshirt junior, played in seven games last season before breaking both the tibia and fibula in his right leg during an Oct. 5 victory over Arizona State, costing him the rest of the season. The Cincinnati native was enjoying the most productive stretch of his career before the injury, as he had started in three consecutive games and had a team-best 41 tackles.

Kelly also told ESPN.com that sophomore walk-on cornerback Jesse Bongiovi, the son of rock star Jon Bon Jovi, tore an anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the 2014 season.