Louis Nix III out against Air Force

Tommy Rees' neck turned out to be the least of Notre Dame's health concerns this week, as nose guard Louis Nix III is out for Saturday's game at Air Force and right guard Christian Lombard is out for the season, coach Brian Kelly said Thursday.

Nix, a redshirt junior, will not be making the trip to Colorado Springs, Colo., because of knee tendinitis, while Lombard underwent surgery to remove a herniated disk in his back that will sideline him for the rest of 2013.

Rees practiced all week after suffering a neck strain in last Saturday's win against USC and is good to go for Saturday.

Versatile senior Kona Schwenke will start in Nix's place. Schwenke had started three games this season at defensive end when first-teamer Sheldon Day was nursing an ankle sprain. Touted freshman Steve Elmer will step in for Lombard.

The 6-foot-2, 342-pound Nix was named a preseason All-American by multiple publications and has been a stalwart in the middle of Notre Dame's defense, often commanding double-teams from opposing offensive linemen after passing up the NFL this past offseason.

Lombard has one year of eligibility remaining and can play for the Irish next season if he is invited back.