SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame defensive lineman Tony Springmann's junior season is over before it started.
Coach Brian Kelly said Thursday the former Bishop Dwenger standout will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee.
Kelly said Springmann suffered a dislocated kneecap with severe ligament damage. Kelly added that freshman Isaac Rochell will need to play earlier than expected with Springmann out for the year.
"Really disappointed for Tony," Kelly said.
Springmann's father, Dave, told The Journal Gazette his son dislocated his left kneecap during a practice Friday.
Kelly announced after practice Saturday that Springmann would not play in Notre Dame's season opener against Temple on Aug. 31 at home. At the time, Kelly said Springmann would undergo an MRI to find out the extent of the damage to his knee.
Springmann was at practice Thursday and wore a brace on his left leg as well as a pink T-shirt, shorts and a visor. He was able to walk without crutches and stood near the defensive linemen as they went through drills, offering advice now and then.
Dave Springmann said Tuesday a date has not been set for surgery.
"Apparently, with this type of injury, you can wait as long as two weeks before scheduling surgery is what the surgeon said," Dave Springmann said.
Springmann is the second defensive lineman the Irish will be without this year. Junior Chase Hounshell is out for the season as he recovers from his second shoulder surgery in three years.
Springmann played in 13 games last season. He had 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Springmann did not play as a freshman at Notre Dame.
"He's used to dealing with aches and pains, so he seems to be OK, in good spirits," Dave Springmann said. "As he acknowledges, it's a risk of the game, unfortunately, that you get hurt."
Springmann's absence will deprive the Irish of one of their most versatile lineman.
The 6-foot-5, 296-pounder could back up any of Notre Dame's likely starters, ends Stephon Tuitt, a junior, and Sheldon Day, a sophomore, as well as nose guard Louis Nix III, a senior.
"He's got great flexibility, and he's an aggressive football player," defensive line coach Mike Elton said of Springmann in May. "That makes him a hot commodity."
Notre Dame still has some depth on the defensive line.
Senior Kona Schwenke and fifth-year senior Tyler Stockton can back up Nix at nose guard.
Senior Justin Utupo, sophomore Jarron Jones and freshmen Rochell and Jacob Matuska can play at defensive end. The Irish can also bring junior linebacker Ishaq Williams down to play at end.