Notre Dame coach Weis to wait on left knee surgery
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis will wait to decide whether to have surgery after tearing ligaments in his knee when a player crashed into him on the sideline during the game against Michigan.
"I don't see me having surgery in the foreseeable future," he said Sunday.
Weis said surgery is not needed on his torn medial collateral ligament, saying it has to "tighten up" on its own. He said he could need surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament, but he would wait at least until Notre Dame's off week in mid-October or until after the season if he has surgery at all.
He was injured with about 3:30 left in the second quarter and the Irish leading 28-17. Weis was standing at the 50 looking to his right on a punt when Notre Dame defensive end John Ryan, who is 6-5, 264 pounds, was knocked out of bounds by a Michigan blocker and crashed into Weis. Weis collapsed and his left knee bent awkwardly.
Weis stayed on the ground briefly before being helped up, but used crutches with his leg in a wrap so he could stay on the sideline.
"I didn't want to be a distraction or be part of any momentum change to the negative side," Weis said. "I didn't want to risk that."
Ryan apologized to Weis repeatedly. Weis told him not to worry. But some former Irish players have been texting Ryan poking fun at him.
Weis also received calls from some friends including Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid and several players from the New England Patriots, where Weis used to coach, including Tom Brady, who injured his knee a week earlier.
"Tommy gave me some advice from firsthand experience," Weis said. "He told me for about a week you'll be struggling. After that, it gets better."
On Sunday, Weis had a brace on his knee and walked with the aid of a four-pronged cane. He said the cane is a grim reminder of the complications he had after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2002, when internal bleeding forced him to undergo surgery again two days later and kept him in intensive care for nearly two weeks. He was in a wheelchair briefly, then used a similar cane.
"So psychologically, it doesn't fire me up too much," Weis said.
Weis said he needs the cane only for balance, though, and he hopes to be off of it by the end of the week. He plans to be on the sideline for Saturday's game at Michigan State and said he would be more careful. He said he will probably sit more during practices, but doesn't think that will change much.
"They didn't hire me for my body, they hired me for my mind," he said.
Several Irish players said they had never seen Weis fired up so much before a game.
"He was pumped," receiver Golden Tate said. "He got us pumped."
Weis admitted he was more expressive than usual before the game, remembering how humiliated he was on the sideline and the press room afterward following last year's 38-0 loss to the Wolverines.
"I think the message I wanted to say to them before we went out of the locker room is, 'Today's the day you make the change,'" Weis said. "I'd like to sit there and take the kudos, but it wasn't me, it was the players."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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