Irish more optimistic about injuries

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's injury outlook Tuesday was decidedly more positive than it was Sunday.

The biggest endorsement might have come shortly before coach Brian Kelly began his news conference, with the Irish announcing that end Sheldon Day (ankle sprain) and left guard Chris Watt (PCL tear) will be available for interviews Wednesday, as sure a sign as any that they are expected to play Saturday at Pitt.

Kelly reiterated that he is optimistic about both players' chances of taking the field this weekend, as he is with nose guard Louis Nix III (knee tenditinitis/small meniscus tear), whose knee, he added, will eventually need minor surgery.

Watt has seen inflammation go down in his knee after suffering a PCL tear Oct. 26 at Air Force, with Kelly saying that a full week of practice should help him make the proper adjustments to be play to play.

An MRI on Austin Collinsworth's neck on Monday came back clean, but there are still some lingering issues that will at least keep him out of practice on Tuesday, with his status uncertain for Saturday's game against the Panthers.

Ben Councell's season-ending left knee injury, meanwhile, turned out to be an ACL tear, which he will have surgery on shortly and which could keep him limited come spring ball.

Kelly told a small group of reporters after his news conference that Nix has already undergone PRP on his hurt knee, but will need a minor procedure to clean up the tendinitis. Kelly said running back Greg Bryant had both procedures done earlier this season for his tendinitis issues.