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September 16, 2009

Floyd back up to speed

The status of Michael Floyd is a laughing matter.

That's a good thing for Notre Dame. After needing 15 stitches in his right knee late in the game last week at Michigan, Floyd might as well have worn a "Don't Touch" sign during practice on Tuesday. His teammates let him hear it. That's better than Floyd missing the workout entirely.

"We've been cracking a few jokes about it," said Golden Tate. "He didn't get hit as much but he was still out there running around. He looked good. It's hard to believe he even had stitches."

Floyd wouldn't go that far, not after suffering the shock injury in the fourth quarter against the Wolverines. After going for an errant Jimmy Clausen pass, Floyd fell on the hard synthetic surface around the field, slicing open his knee. At first, the sophomore thought he could see bone, but it turned out just to be skin.

While the shock of the gash has worn off, it still took Floyd a few reps to get back into the mix of Notre Dame's offense as practice for the Michigan State got rolling.

"In the beginning, mentally I didn't feel I was able to go because it was just kind of stiff," said Floyd, who wore a protective sleeve on his right knee. "But after warming up, getting it going, just focusing on what we have to get done in practice, it kind of let loose a little bit."

Then the rest of Notre Dame's receivers got digs into a sophomore whose 11 catches for 320 yards and four touchdowns back up the five-star status Floyd carried coming out of Cretin-Derham Hall two years ago. After setting every major Irish freshman receiving record last season, Floyd is well on his way to all the sophomore marks.

"Michael's fine," said receivers coach Rob Ianello. "His mother is more worried than he is."

Would Ianello call Floyd back to 100 percent?

"I don't know percentages. The trainers know percentages. I just know he was out there and I didn't restrict him. He was not restricted in anything he did."

Charlie Weis joked during his Tuesday press conference that Floyd should view the injury in hockey terms as a Minnesotan. The Irish head coach figured that if a hockey player got 15 stitches during a game that he'd probably miss one shift. Floyd missed the end of Notre Dame's final touchdown drive and the ensuing possession that failed to kill off the clock.

While Floyd said he could have come back into the game if it went to overtime, he admitted to not being mentally ready to play during that four-play possession that set up Michigan's game-winning march.

"I felt like I didn't want to get in simply because of the fact I wasn't mentally into it," Floyd said. "I didn't think I could be at the 100 percent that I like to put in every single time I play, so mentally I wasn't there. If we were to go into OT, I think I probably would have stepped up and came in."

Notre Dame will gladly settle for Floyd being ready for kickoff against the Spartans.


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