Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday that cornerback D’Anton Lynn, who was carted off the field last weekend with a potentially serious neck injury, has an injury that’s “not anywhere as severe as what we were scared to death of,” and could practice with the team as early as Thursday.
Speaking at his weekly teleconference, Paterno said Lynn was tested for a concussion Saturday after being taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center from Beaver Stadium, and on Monday. Lynn also was administered tests that he called “a lot of medical stuff that probably ought to come from the doctors and the trainers, because there’s nerves involved and some different things.”
As for the results of the tests, Paterno said “There’s still a couple of problems with that” but did not go into specifics. He also did not say when Lynn could return to game action.
Lynn, a senior and a three-year starter in the secondary, was injured in the third quarter of Saturday’s 34-6 win over Eastern Michigan.
The Nittany Lions lost another key defensive player in that game when linebacker Michael Mauti left the field with a torn ACL in his left knee. Paterno said Mauti, the Lions’ leading tackler and a candidate for All-Big Ten honors, will undergo surgery later this week and is out for the season.
Mauti showed up Monday at Penn State practice to encourage his teammates.
“He came into the locker room and said, ‘Are y’all ready to be coached by coach Mauti?’” backup free safely Malcolm Willis said.
Paterno, who coached Mauti’s father, Rich, in the 1970s, said he has talked to the younger Mauti to try to keep his spirits up.
“There’s nothing he can do about it,” he said. “That’s a tough thing for a kid. I don’t care whether it’s the first time you’re injured, second time you’re injured, or what. You work your butt off all winter, summer, spring practice, preseason practice. You go out there all excited about playing and boom, one play and you can’t do it. So it’s tough. But you try to keep them encouraged.”
Regarding Penn State’s other injuries, Paterno said offensive tackle Mike Farrell (knee) and tailback Brandon Beachum (foot) would not make it back for this week’s game at Indiana.
Paterno indicated everything with his two quarterbacks remained status quo, and that both would play in Saturday’s Big Ten opener against the Hoosiers.
He acknowledged that the backup quarterback, who has been Matt McGloin for the season’s first four games, might have the edge because “you’re getting an opportunity from the sideline to see what the defense is doing, get a little feel for the pace of the game, and so forth.”
He did not say whether he would change things around for this week, with McGloin starting and Rob Bolden coming off the bench.
“Even though both of them are practicing the same things, one may be a little more adaptive to certain types of defenses,” Paterno said. “So we might have a tendency toward starting that guy until we get a feel for what’s going on before we made the substitution.
“But as we talk right now, I couldn’t tell you who we’re going to start.”
Paterno also said he still feels that Curtis Drake’s leg still isn’t 100 percent. The sophomore wide receiver from West Catholic High School saw about eight to 10 plays of action last Saturday, his second game since returning from breaking his left leg for the second time.
“They’re letting him work,” he said. “He’s kind of calling the shots himself. If he gets tired, they want him to come out. The leg is not 100 percent but there’s nothing wrong with it e xcept for the fact that it’s not strong enough in some areas.
“We’re trying to bring him along so that we don’t jeopardize his future and yet keep him close enough so that when he feels really well that he can go in there and be a factor in the football game.”