Notre Dame linebacker and captain Drue Tranquill sprained his ankle during Saturday's matchup with Navy when a Midshipmen offensive lineman rolled up on him and pinned his leg.
The injury looked bad on replay, but it seems Tranquill and the Irish avoided the worst-case scenario. The Fort Wayne native and former Carroll safety was diagnosed with a sprained ankle and he returned to the sideline in a boot for the second half.
"(His x-ray) came back clean," coach Brian Kelly said after the game. "He was out of the boot by the time he got out of the locker room (Saturday)."
Kelly wouldn't rule Tranquill out for next week's matchup against Northwestern, which now leads the Big Ten West.
"It's Drue Tranquill," the coach said. "He may be jogging when we get back to the hotel. He's just a unique individual. I wouldn't count him out."
Tranquill was already playing with a cast on his left hand because of a broken bone in the hand, but he'll do everything he can to get back on the field against the Wildcats. The Irish can count themselves lucky that the ankle wasn't broken and there was no injury to Tranquill's knee, which also appeared to twist awkwardly.
If Tranquill isn't able to play against Northwestern, it appears redshirt freshman Drew White will start in his place. White filled in for the fifth-year senior on Saturday and recorded the first six tackles of his Irish career. The downside to Tranquill playing nearly every down, as he has this season, is that the linebackers behind him on the depth chart are all inexperienced. Still, Kelly liked what he saw from White on Saturday.
"He went in there and did a nice job for us," Kelly said. "You lose arguably one of your best defensive players in the first series ... things can go awry quickly. They did not from that position. Drew went in there and did a really nice job."