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Springmann makes progress, other Notre Dame injury updates

Notre Dame defensive lineman Tony Springmann is getting closer to being at full strength.

Coach Brian Kelly said Friday that the former Bishop Dwenger standout has made good progress as he tries to return from a dislocated left knee and a post-surgery infection.

"He's moving around quite well," Kelly said during a press conference to introduce offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur.

"We will see where it moves. We are hoping to get quiet a lot out of him moving forward."

Springmann did not play last season, but when he returns he could share time at nose guard with Jarron Jones. Springmann can also play defensive end.

Kelly said he is not sure if Springmann will be available to practice when spring drills begin March 3.

"I don't know if he is cleared at this moment," Kelly said. "If he continues to show no side effects, he'll continue to do some things to the point that I think we can be in that neighborhood."

Linebacker Jarrett Grace is also slowly recovering from a broken leg he suffered against Arizona State on Oct. 5.

"He broke that bone in four places," Kelly said. "That is a little slower in developing, but he is making progress there with what was a very complicated fracture."

While Springmann and Grace are gradually getting better, Kelly said numerous other players have shown good progress coming back from injury.

Defensive lineman Chase Hounshell, linebacker Doug Randolph and offensive lineman John Montelus, who all sat out last season because of shoulder injuries, are expected to be ready for spring practice.

Safety Nicky Baratti, who also missed last season because of a shoulder injury, has been cleared for contact, but Kelly said he may keep Baratti out of contact drills during the spring.

"Whether we put him in full contact because of a second surgery, I think that is still questionable," Kelly said. "We may want to ride right through the spring and have his first contact be in the fall."

Kelly was most optimistic about linebacker Ben Councell and center Nick Martin. Councell suffered an ACL injury, and Martin had an MCL injury.

"They are well ahead of schedule," Kelly said.

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