Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday he was not optimistic that sophomore wide receiver Curtis Drake, who suffered a fractured left tibia early in pre-season camp, would return this season and raised the possibility of redshirting him.
“He still hasn’t done a thing,” Paterno said of the former West Catholic High School star. “He hasn’t been in uniform. We can redshirt him, which we’ll probably end up doing. But we hope one day he’ll get back out there and get back into a football mentality.
“He comes to practice every day but he’s in civilian clothes. I doubt very much we’ll see him this year but you never know.”
Drake suffered the injury on Aug. 9, shortly after the start of pre-season. Initial estimates were that he would miss six to eight weeks of action, and hopes were that he could return after the team’s bye, which was last week.
Drake’s absence has taken a valuable player away from the offense. In 2009, his freshman year, Drake caught eight passes for 98 yards, rushed for 24 yards and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass. Paterno has called him “probably the best athlete we have.”
In other injury news, Paterno said sophomore linebacker Gerald Hodges, a former star at Paulsboro High, returned to practice on Monday and added that thinks “he’ll be able to play although he’ll be a little rusty” Saturday at Minnesota. Hodges suffered a leg injury Sept. 11 on the opening kickoff of the Nittany Lions’ game against Alabama.