OL Dieffenbach Hopes to Return

Penn State senior guard tore an ACL in the spring. Can he make it back for the end of the 2014 season?

Penn State guard Miles Dieffenbach, who tore the ACL in his left knee early in spring practice, said at Saturday's Lift For Life that he still hopes to play late in the 2014 season.

“The knee's feeling really good,” he said. “I'm definitely hopeful to get ready and get back on the field for the later part of the season.”

Dieffenbach, a senior and two-year starter, said he suffered his injury “five or six practices” into spring drills when someone rolled up on his leg. He underwent surgery, though he said he couldn't recall the exact date.

Recovery from ACL surgery typically takes eight months to a year, though there have been cases where athletes return after six months. If Dieffenbach's surgery occurred in early April, he would hit the six-month mark in early October.

“Right now I'm in a really good place,” he said. “I haven't had any hiccups. Everything's feeling good. My strength is good. Right now I'm staying on track, hopefully, to be back for the last three or four games.”

"Everything's feeling good. My strength is good. Right now I'm staying on track, hopefully, to be back for the last three or four games.”

Dieffenbach said he has been limited to treadmill work, as well as leg-strengthening exercises, while serving as de facto coach for the younger linemen. In time he will be able to get back to more football-specific work. He also said he has worked through the anguish that accompanies a major injury.

“It's tough, but it's what you sign up for,” he said. “It's part of the game: Guys get injured. You've got to take it with a grain of salt. At the end of the day I'm going to be better for it — bigger, faster, stronger.”

Linebacker Ben Kline, who tore his left Achilles in a recent workout, wore a boot on the injured foot as he motored about the lacrosse field Saturday on a golf cart or scooter, while fulfilling his duties as president of Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

“I can't really get into too much of the specifics (of the injury),” he said, “but just working as hard as I can to get back as quickly as I can.”

Kline did say that he underwent a pair of surgical procedures to repair shoulder and pectoral injuries in the offseason. Beyond that, he said, “I'm just working as hard as I can to get back when I can. That's pretty much it. Pretty standard.”

Before Saturday's event, some $110,000 was raised in the last year to battle kidney cancer, and some of Kline's teammates said he had been such an effective leader that he might someday make a good president.

Kline, a redshirt junior, called such a notion “absurd.”

“I don't consider myself a leader or anything like that,” he said. “I'm just trying to do the best I can for this event. A lot of guys put a lot of time into it.”

As for Dieffenbach, Kline said he views him as “one of the best,” as well as “an all-timer”— not to mention someone who might be better-suited to politics than him.

“He will be president someday,” Kline said, “or a standup comedian.”

Dieffenbach's goal is much more immediate - to play at some point this fall.

“It's tough to think there's a chance I could miss my senior season after being here five years, but that's part of the game,” he said. “I'm going to work my hardest every day to get back on the field.”


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