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October 4, 2006Sophomore fullback Asaph Schwapp will have surgery on his left knee Thursday, putting an end to his 2006 season.
Schwapp, a jack-hammer of a blocker from Hartford, Conn., went down with the injury in the second game of the season against Penn State and has been sidelined the past three games.
Because the injury occurred within the first three games of the 12-game season, he would be eligible to apply for a medical red-shirt season. Schwapp will have eligibility through the 2009 season.
"I told him I was going to wait until the bye week, but from watching him today, he obviously is not going to be able to play in this week's game," said Weis immediately following Wednesday's practice inside the Loftus Sports Center.
"There's no sense waiting another day because every day I wait to get it fixed is one day longer before I end up getting him back. So we're going to go fix it."
Senior Ashley McConnell, who moved into the starting lineup against Michigan in the third week of the season, will remain the starter at fullback.
By performing the surgery now, Weis hopes to have Schwapp back for spring drills beginning in March. He said if they waited until January to perform the surgery, he would not be able to return to the practice field in August.
"I don't know the extent of what it is because the injury is an old injury," Weis said. "So we really don't know the severity of it. We're not positive, but we'll go in there (Thursday), find out what it is, and fix it. When I find out what it is, I'll let you know."
Weis said doctors are aware of scar tissue in Schwapp's left knee, presumably from an injury suffered before he arrived at Notre Dame in the fall of 2005.
"It wasn't like it was something that happened when we were on the practice field," Weis said. "It just kind of locked up. I don't know how old that is, but (it didn't happen) while he was here. It locked up in practice and then in the game, and whatever it is, I guess it will continue to lock until we get it fixed.
"The doctors felt that when the swelling went down, he would have a chance to get through the year. But he really never made significant progress. You guys see him. I'm looking at the same thing you're looking at It was something that he hurt and never got fixed, and now it's time to go fix it."
Weis was not prepared to burn a year of Schwapp's eligibility, and then have him go down with another injury shortly after returning to the lineup.
"What I don't want to do is put him in there for a couple of plays and then have him not be able to go, and then lose the possible opportunity to gain another year out of the guy," Weis said. "That would not be very good foresight on my part.
Schwapp was not made available for comment following Wednesday's practice, but Weis said he was optimistic about the future.
"He and I have been talking about this for a couple of weeks," Weis said. "It's a little different psychologically when it's game five and you know you're going to lose a year of eligibility. You have to apply for it, but it's similar to Rhema (McKnight) last year. The fact that it's not game five that it's happening, I think he was pretty upbeat."