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Broken left hand to sideline Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste 4-6 weeks

Oct 17, 2013, 5:15 PM EDT

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With Jack Cooley having graduated after leading the team in both scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg), Notre Dame has a sizable hole to fill in its front court this season. One player expected to figure prominently in the Fighting Irish’s plans is sophomore Zach Auguste, who averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in nearly 11 minutes of action per game as a freshman.

Those plans have hit a bump in the road however, as the school announced on Thursday that the 6-foot-10 power forward will be out anywhere from four to six weeks after suffering a broken left hand in practice.

“This is really unfortunate for Zach that he suffered this injury because he had such a great summer and preseason for us,” Notre Dame head coach¬†Mike Brey¬†said in the release. “Zach is going to be a key for us on the frontline this season. I love the energy and passion he has brought to practice.

“Since the end of last season, he’s been really focused on improving all aspects of his game and he’s really matured. Zach knows and understands that he’s a big piece of the puzzle for us this year and that we are counting on him at both ends of the floor.”

Auguste’s most productive outing of the season came in a 72-64 loss at Marquette on March 2, in which he accounted for 15 points, five rebounds and three steals in 21 minutes of action. With veterans Tom Knight and Garrick Sherman back, and underclassmen Austin Burgett, Eric Katenda and Austin Torres also available, Notre Dame should have enough options to deal with Auguste’s absence. Katenda redshirted last season after suffering an eye injury during his senior year of high school that at one point was feared to be a career-ending injury.

Notre Dame’s perimeter play is the primary reason why more than a few think Mike Brey’s team can factor into the ACC in their first season in the conference. But if they’re to make good on those expectations the big men will need to contribute as well, and that’s where a player like Auguste comes into play.