Notre Dame loses Martin for the season with ACL

Oct 2, 2009 - 9:21 PM By TOM COYNE AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind.(AP) -- Notre Dame's hopes of bouncing back after a disappointing finish last year took a hit Friday when forward Scott Martin learned he will miss the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The 6-foot-8 Martin, a transfer from Purdue expected to start after sitting last season, injured the knee Thursday during a preseason workout when he drove into the lane and crumpled to the court, coach Mike Brey said.

The Irish had been counting on Martin to provide an offensive spark. Brey has called Martin "one of the most gifted offensive guys" he's had in his time at Notre Dame.

The seniors, led by returning starters Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson, held a team meeting Friday and compared the loss of Martin to the 2006-07 season when the Irish lost starting guard Kyle McAlarney in December just before the start of Big East play, Brey said.

Jackson stepped in for McAlarney and the Irish still finished fourth in the league and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Brey said the seniors are determined to overcome the loss of Martin.

"I don't think what they have planned for their team they're going to let anyone negotiate it down their senior year," Brey said. "We've got a lot to work with here and we still want to chase down a NCAA tournament bid, which is what we talked about in our first team meeting."

The Irish also return forward Tyrone Nash, who played regularly last season, and transfer Ben Hansbrough, who helped Mississippi State advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Brey said the fortunate thing is with the injury starting before the start of practice in two weeks it gives the Irish plenty of time to find a replacement. The most likely candidates are Carleton Scott and Tim Abromaitis, a pair of juniors who have each sat out a season.

"They're veterans now and should be in a position to give us more," Brey said.

Three freshmen also will be competing for playing time. The Irish, who also return senior guard Jonathan Peoples, also could go with a three-guard lineup at times, Brey said.

"You have three guys who are in their fourth year of college basketball and really know how to play," he said.

The Irish began last season ranked No. 9 in the nation and with the goals of winning the Big East and advancing to the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1978. Instead, the Irish saw their season collapse with a seven-game losing streak. The finished as the league's No. 10 seed and ended the season 21-15.

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