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Notre Dame re-invents itself

Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey is trying to figure out how to re-invent his team six games into the Big East season.

And the No. 24 Irish (15-4, 3-3) will have to change without one of their leaders.

Scott Martin, a sixth-year guard, is out indefinitely as he tries to recover from a problem in his left knee, Brey said during a news conference Wednesday.

"Scott and I talked (Tuesday), and we need to shut him down to see if he can get back to have one more run for us," Brey said.

The 6-foot-8, 218-pound Martin missed the 2009-10 season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Martin, who sat out the 2008-09 season after transferring to Notre Dame from Purdue, also suffered a torn meniscus in the knee and has scar tissue in the joint, Brey said.

Brey said Martin first started feeling pain in the knee when he came out of a media timeout in the Irish's 66-60 win over Cincinnati on Jan. 7. The coach said Martin will be out at least two to three weeks.

Brey said while there is hope Martin could return this season, the Irish will move on like the two-time captain will not return.

"It maybe hard to put odds on it, let's say 50/50 to be safe," Brey said of Martin returning. "I think for us as a coaching staff and a team, and I told Scott this, we need to move forward like that's not going to happen. I don't think we can count on that or plan on that.

"I think we have to plan like he's not coming back, and if he does come back, man, that is a pleasant surprise. And when that is, I really don't know."

Notre Dame will explore every option to make up for the loss of Martin, who was averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds after the Irish defeated Cincinnati, but has gone 2 of 11 from the field in the four games since.

Notre Dame has lost three of its last four games.

"We are probably re-inventing a little bit right now with rotation and front line," Brey said. "Everybody is back on the board."

Brey said he will look at senior forward Tom Knight and senior center Garrick Sherman, as well as freshmen forwards Austin Burgett and Zach Auguste, as options in the rotation when Notre Dame returns to action at noon Saturday at South Florida (10-7, 1-4).

Knight's playing time has increased the last two games as Notre Dame moved away from Sherman because of a lack of production. Knight is averaging 2 points and 1.6 rebounds. Sherman is averaging 7.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Auguste has played 62 minutes, and averages 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. Burgett has played 29 minutes, and has scored six points and grabbed six rebounds.

"I think I have to have a really open mind to that, and it could be a revolving door," Brey said. "If somebody jumps up there and takes that, and that's how we play with that group, great. …

"There's a lot of games left, and if we have to learn on the fly for a while to have what we need to have in February, then that's what we got to do."