Bloomington – Coach Bill Lynch hopes to have a pair of key offensive players back for this weekend's game at Penn State, but he'll likely be without a couple of starters on defense.
During his Monday radio show, the IU coach said he's hopeful that both quarterback Ben Chappell and offensive tackle Rodger Saffold will be ready for the Penn State match-up. Chappell missed the second half of the Wisconsin game after sustaining a head injury in the closing seconds of the first half, while Saffold has missed the last two games due to a knee injury.
Lynch said Saffold returned to practice for the first time on Monday, and he's been encouraged that Chappell will be able to bounce back as well.
"Ben is going to be in good shape," Lynch said. "He was out Saturday, but such a tough kid, and I just talked to him and I think he'll be good."
Quarterback Kellen Lewis, meanwhile, is questionable for this weekend's game due to an ankle injury. Lewis was pressed into duty in the second half of the Wisconsin game, but he was clearly hobbled during both of his series and eventually gave way to Mitchell Evans.
"Kellen is better now than he was last Monday," Lynch said.
The outlook isn't quite as good on the defensive side of the ball, where the Hoosiers will likely be without linebacker Will Patterson and cornerback Richard Council. Patterson suffered a knee injury Saturday and has been ruled out for the Penn State game. While Council's injury isn't as severe as the IU staff originally feared – they first thought he had broken his ankle – he'll likely be replaced in the starting lineup by Donnell Jones.
Council's injury is the fourth significant injury to a starter in the secondary. Opening day starters Chris Phillips (knee), Austin Thomas (knee) and Nick Polk (knee) have all suffered season-ending injuries during the course of the season. Lynch said Thomas underwent successful surgery today, while Polk is scheduled to undergo surgery Dec. 1.
Injuries have been a major storyline for the Hoosiers this season, as starters at just about every position on both sides of the ball have missed time this year with a variety of ailments. Lynch doesn't believe there's anything that he can point to as a cause for the injuries, other than bad luck.
"At end of the season we'll analyze the injuries and how it happened," Lynch said. "But as we've talked, it's just been one of those years."
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Lynch Thinks Chappell, Saffold Will Be Ready
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