Hamilton suffered the injury in Notre Dame's 31-16 win over USC on October 23, and has not played since. Kelly said Hamilton was originally dealing with some issues with his meniscus, but those are no longer a problem.
"This is much more about the healing around the knee itself and there's no structural damage at all," Kelly said. "But it generally takes about six weeks. I'm not a doctor, so I don't want to give too much information here, but there's tissue and fibers, that kind of connective tissue and fiber around the joint and the knee, and they get pinched or pulled and that's the issue that has to heal, so it just takes some time."
Mel Kiper Jr. has Hamilton as the No. 2 prospect in his NFL draft big board and calls him one of the more versatile defenders in the country. Despite missing three games so far, Hamilton still has 35 total tackles, two tackles for loss, three interceptions and four pass breakups on the season.
Notre Dame (9-1) has three games remaining on the schedule, and with the team at No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the injury could have a bigger impact on the season if it takes the full six weeks.
"Six weeks would take him through the end of the regular season," Kelly said. "And then we have to see where we are with College Football Playoffs, bowl games, things like that."