ANNAPOLIS — Kriss Proctor tossed a mini-football to fellow quarterback Trey Miller with his right arm after practice, a notable event since the southpaw’s left arm remained in a sling.
How soon Proctor will put his throwing arm to use remains in doubt after he suffered a dislocated elbow in Saturday’s 38-35 loss to East Carolina.
Miller, a sophomore, likely will make his first career start Saturday when the Midshipmen (2-5) visit Notre Dame (4-3).
“It’s probably a long shot that he’ll play this week,” Niumatalolo said of Proctor.
It isn’t Proctor’s first experience with an elbow dislocation. It cost him nearly his entire senior season of high school, which in turn dimmed recruiting interest in the California native. He suffered the injury again in his freshman year at Navy, and then once more earlier this month in a loss to Air Force.
On that afternoon, he popped the elbow back into place and continued with his day. In the second quarter Saturday, playing on wasn’t possible.
“I just kind of landed on it weird and it’s one of those weird things,” Proctor said.
Proctor, who has started 10 games in his career, leads Navy in rushing with 591 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also thrown for 557 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Meanwhile, Miller received the first meaningful playing time of his career Saturday. He was 5-for-12 for 126 yards and two touchdowns against East Carolina. In three previous appearances - all in the closing stages of blowouts - he had a combined two passing attempts and six rushes.
There aren’t many more daunting settings for Navy to thrust a first-time starter into than a game at Notre Dame. More significantly, the Mids have lost five straight games and find their bowl hopes teetering with less than half of the season remaining. Navy cannot lose more than one of its final five games or its postseason streak will end after eight years.
“That’s going to be huge, but I just have to get prepared at practice all week,” Miller said. “I’m pretty sure coach is going to have a good scheme for us, and Kriss is going to help me out, also.”
Niumatalolo said he hoped to make a decision about a starter after Wednesday’s practice. Proctor said he’s following the advice of the team’s medical and training personnel and is receiving treatment at 6 a.m. each day.
Whether it’s enough for Proctor to participate in a crucial game for the Mids this weekend remains questionable.
“I’m just concerned that if he comes back quick, will it pop out again?” Niumatalolo said. “You’re also concerned about the kid’s long-term health, too. He’s a tough kid who will go out there and battle. It’s unfortunate it’s also his left elbow, too.”
NOTE: Niumatalolo said it was unlikely cornerback David Wright, who missed the past two games with an ankle injury, would return to play Notre Dame. “It doesn’t look too good right now,” Niumatalolo said.