Jarrett Grace injury: Broken fibula ends Notre Dame linebacker's season

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Irish won on Saturday, but they lost a key member of their defense in the process.

Notre Dame starting linebacker Jarrett Grace, who leads the Irish in tackles this season, is out for the year after suffering a broken right fibula during the Irish's victory over Arizona State on Saturday. Grace stayed behind in Dallas to have surgery on Sunday, and he'll remain there until there is no threat of blood clots and he can safely fly back to South Bend.

More Irish football: One Foot Down

Brian Kelly addressed the setback Sunday, via Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune:

"Obviously a big loss for us, but we've got a senior in Danny Fox that will step in at that position," Irish coach Brian Kelly said during a Sunday conference call.

"Certainly you're losing somebody that we had counted on as a starter. Now you're deep into your depth and that wasn't area with lot of experience."

Grace stepped into a starting role at linebacker this season after spending last year playing primarily on special teams. He collected 40 tackles this season, including one for a loss. Fortunately for the Irish, replacement Dan Fox has extensive experience; he's appeared in more than 40 games during his Notre Dame career.

Kelly added that the team will need bigger contributions from Joe Schmidt and Kendall Moore, who have combined for 10 tackles this season.

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