Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is hopeful that he will have the Irish's one of veteran defensive lineman for this weekend's home game against Air Force and its tricky option offense.
Senior defensive end Ethan Johnson sprained his right ankle in Saturday's win over Purdue and was wearing a protective boot after the first half.
"We'll immobilize him for the next few days and then get him moving and see," Kelly said during Sunday's teleconference. "It's one of those things where it's such an individual, case-by-case situation when comes to ankles. (Saturday) night he was in a boot, he'll stay in that until probably midweek. Then we'll start moving him around and see what he looks like."
Kelly said there is a chance Johnson, who has nine tackles this season, will play.
If Johnson is unable to play, the Irish would likely turn to freshman Aaron Lynch to start. Lynch has 11 tackles and three sacks this season.
"We know about his ability to rush the passer. That's pretty clear," Kelly said of Lynch. "There are some things we need to continue to work on with him as it relates to gap responsibility and playing the defense."
The Falcons (3-1) are third in the nation in rushing, averaging 364.5 rushing.
Kelly said Air Force's option offense will require his attention more than other offenses.
"Option offenses require my attention because there's things that we have to do that are not necessarily defensive schemes that we don't have in the playbook sometimes," Kelly said. "So I'll be involved with that in terms of decision making, but that's really about it, and those will be meetings. It won't be coaching, it won't be me being on the defensive side of the field more. It'll just be making decisions on how we want to attack the spread option attack of Air Force."
Notre Dame (3-2) will also be dealing with an injury on special teams this week.
Long snapper Jordan Cowart, who was involved in a skirmish against Purdue, broke his hand, Kelly said.
Cowart is also going to try to play this weekend.
"We've stabilized (his hand)," Kelly said. "He's going to give it a shot. We'll see how it works out."