Knee improving, Irish ILB McDonald should be available as backup for opener against Purdue

Irish inside linebacker Anthony McDonald has been upgraded from doubtful to questionable for Notre Dame's opener against Purdue.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Thursday that McDonald, the projected starter, is making progress in returning from a hyperextended knee and should be available as a backup for the home game on Sept. 4.

Kelly plans to announce on Monday who will back up quarterback Dayne Crist. The competition is between Nate Montana and Tommy Rees.

Kelly said that Friday's practice will conclude the "preseason," and the team will begin focusing on Purdue after that.

He also said defensive back E.J. Banks, who'd left the team, will be added to the scout team so he can practice but will not be on scholarship.