MRI shows damage to Weis' knee more extensive than first believed

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Doctors told Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis the damage to his left knee was far more extensive than originally believed after an Irish player was blocked into him on the sideline two months ago.

"My knee cap is fine. That's the good news. Everything else is gone," Weis told reporters Thursday evening following practice.

Weis knew immediately after he was hit during the game against Michigan on Sept. 13 that he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. An MRI on Wednesday revealed he also tore the posterior cruciate ligament, the lateral meniscus and "the posterior capsule, which I don't even know what it is," Weis said. He also has a fractured femur.

"They said it's a trauma knee, like getting hit by a car," Weis said. "I knew when I got hit it was bad."

Defensive end John Ryan, who is 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds, was blocked and crashed into Weis during a punt, when the coach was looking in the other direction.

Weis said he needs to go through 12 weeks of rehabilitation to strengthen his hamstring and quadriceps muscles before he can undergo surgery. But because that would conflict with recruiting, he doesn't plan to have the surgery until mid-March.

Weis has been working about an hour a day trying to strengthen his knee. He wears a brace to help him walk, and said he can walk better when he can put his hand on the wall to help him balance, which allows him to straighten his leg more.

After the surgery, Weis said he will be on crutches for two months, the first six weeks with either a brace or a cast. Weis doesn't expect to be at full speed until about six months after the surgery.