Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph will likely not play in the final three games this season.
The 6-foot-6, 260-pound sophomore injured his left shoulder making a catch in the third quarter in last Saturday's 23-21 loss to Navy. Irish coach Charlie Weis said Rudolph has an injured muscle on his shoulder and will not play against No. 8 Pittsburgh on Saturday or Connecticut on Nov. 21.
Weis said the doctors haven't completely ruled out Rudolph being able to play in the season finale against Stanford on Nov. 28, but the coach isn't optimistic about having the sophomore back for the game against the Cardinal.
"Rudy probably won't be back for the rest of the regular season," Weis said during his Tuesday news conference. "(The doctors) feared the collarbone being broken, but that's not it. They said Stanford is a possibility. I'm not a doctor, and I think that's a reach. I think he will be able to practice again in December."
Rudolph has 33 catches, the second most on the team, for 364 yards with three touchdowns. He is the second tight end Notre Dame has lost for the season, freshman Tyler Eifert – a former Bishop Dwenger standout who played in the season opener – is also out for the season with a bulging disc in his back.
Notre Dame will start junior Mike Ragone at tight end, and Bobby Burger, who is returning from a neck injury, will be the backup.
Weis said the team can use the tight end position in the game plan the same as it did before losing Rudolph, as long as both Ragone and Burger do not get injured.
But the Irish do have a plan in case they lose another tight end.
"We are training a couple of offensive linemen to be able to utilize in the game, if that's the situation we got into that's what we would do," Weis said. "It would take two injuries to get in a precarious situation where there were no actual tight ends playing in the game. We have that covered too."
Notre Dame will likely have two players back for Saturday's road game.
Running back Armando Allen, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury, and right guard Trevor Robinson, who missed last weekend's game with an ankle injury, are both expected to start against Pittsburgh.