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Posted on Sun. Dec. 30, 2012 - 12:03 am EDT

Irish receiver back from injury and ready to roll Tide

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BCS

Notre Dame vs. Alabama

When: 8:30 p.m. Jan. 7

Where: Miami

TV: ESPN

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM, 107.3 FM

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SOUTH BEND — DaVaris Daniels wasn’t sure what happened after he landed on his left shoulder on a failed touchdown pass in Notre Dame’s 21-6 win at Boston College on Nov. 10.

But he knew it wasn’t good.

The sophomore receiver’s fears were justified. Daniels broke his clavicle.

“It was difficult, especially when it first happened,” Daniels said. “I didn’t know when I would be back.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder got good news the day after suffering the injury. He was able to have surgery Nov. 11 and was expected to be out five to six weeks.

And just like his fears were on target, so was the treatment.

Daniels is practicing with no limitations as the No. 1 Irish (12-0) play No. 2 Alabama (12-1) in the BCS championship game in Miami.

“He was in contact drills today,” coach Brian Kelly said Saturday. “He’s good.”

Daniels had practiced the previous three weeks, but he wore a red jersey and wasn’t allowed to have physical contact.

“I wanted him to be involved in all the timing work but nobody could touch him,” Kelly said. “Now he’s off the red jersey. He can go out and play, jump, get hit, fall down and he’s getting better.”

Daniels also feels better after taking his first hit since the injury occurred.

Kelly said Saturday’s and today’s practices would be the most physical the team has had since the Irish’s 22-13 win at USC in the regular-season finale Nov. 24. And Daniels was not spared any contact.

“It was almost like a confidence boost,” Daniels said of being back in contact drills.

“Taking a hit, you kind of don’t want to take it at first, but once it is over, you feel about the same as you did before the hit. It is kind of normal. I’m happy to be back here healthy again.”

Notre Dame is also happy to have the receiver back and will hope he returns to the form he had before the injury.

Daniels had a career-high seven catches for 86 yards, including a career-long 45-yard reception, in Notre Dame’s 29-26 triple-overtime home win against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3. He added two more receptions for 22 yards before being injured against Boston College, bringing his total for the season to 25 receptions with 375 yards in 10 games with three starts.

Daniels isn’t sure how much he will be used in the BCS championship game, but he is ready to do everything he can to help the Irish win their first national title since 1988.

“We will see, I don’t know what the full game plan is yet, we still got a couple of days,” Daniels said of his role, “but hopefully, it is a lot.”

Kelly said he has no doubts Daniels will contribute against the Crimson Tide.

“He’s a really good player that understands that his reps are going to be based upon how he practices and how he performs,” Kelly said. “I’m certain that he will play a role in the game.”

tkrausz@jg.net


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