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Minor setback

Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist had a small setback while recovering from knee surgery, coach Brian Kelly told reporters Friday.

Crist tore the patellar tendon in his left knee in a 28-27 loss to Tulsa on Oct. 30, and he was expected to need six months to recover from surgery on Oct. 31

Kelly said Crist suffered a low-grade infection in his repaired knee, setting the junior's rehab back a week to seven days.

"He's got that under control, and we're back on pace," Kelly said.

Crist threw for 2,033 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his first season as a starter.

Kelly said Crist will be competing for the starting job next season.

"As long as he's physically able to come back, and I believe he will, he's got a great amount of experience that's going to serve him well," Kelly said. "Our concerns are his physical ability. From everything that I've seen from the way he's rehabbed already, he is already past that mentally. He already had to go through it the first time. I think there were mental scares the first time. You know, the knee brace and going through practice and not really being sure of himself. I see in him a different look in his eye, that coach I'm going to get through this and be stronger because of it. I think once he gets healthy, he is going to have a chance to compete and be our starter."

Crist's competition includes Tommy Rees, who is 3-0 as a starter and has thrown for 905 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight games. Nate Montana, Andrew Hendrix and Luke Massa will also be in the mix.

"I think we have a lot of players that I believe that we can develop into being front-line quarterbacks," Kelly said. "We clearly have a number of quarterbacks, and it will be very competitive. That's exciting for me. And I hope that it's not murky. I hope it's just great competition, and whoever wins that slot is better because it's a very competitive situation."