Notre Dame got one senior defensive end back on the practice on the same day it announced that another was lost for the season.
Coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that end Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered a detached medial collateral ligament in his right knee and is out for the season.
That announcement came on the same day Ethan Johnson, who hasn't played in the last two games because of high right ankle sprain, practiced for the first time since suffering the injury in a win over Purdue on Oct. 1.
Johnson wouldn't go into too much detail about the injury and how he performed during practice.
"I don't generally talk about practice in any sense, other than I got out there and did my best," Johnson said.
Johnson started the first five games this season. He has nine tackles with one for a loss this season.
Johnson didn't give a lot of detail about how he was feeling coming back from his ankle injury.
"I'm not into doing probabilities, but I'm definitely better than I was yesterday, and the day before yesterday," Johnson said. "I'm just improving every day and taking it a day at a time."
The senior's presence will be needed against the tricky Navy triple-option offense, which ranks third nationally in rushing with 325.1 yards per game. But it is not clear how much Johnson will be able to play against Navy.
"It's hard, E.J. will be available, but the extent of his ability to protect himself and function is yet to be seen," defensive coordinator Bob Diaco said.
With Johnson limited, Lewis-Moore out for the season and senior nose guard Sean Cwynar coming back from a broken hand, the Irish will rely heavily on first-year players.
Sophomore nose guard Louis Nix will be playing in his eighth game Saturday, and three freshmen (Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt and Chase Hounshell) will be used at defensive end.
Lynch has started in place of Johnson the last two games, and Tuitt is listed as the started in place of Lewis-Moore.
"Kapron and Ethan probably have more experience against the option than anybody here in terms of actually understanding their jobs and what to do. But, you know, we'll call on the next guy," Kelly said of relying on the younger linemen.