Joe Paterno on Surgery: "Let's Go"

Upon further review, the Penn State coach opted for a procedure to hasten his recovery from leg injuries. Paterno had surgery Sunday at Mount Nittany Medical Center and intends to coach the Nittany Lions when they face Temple at Beaver Stadium this weekend.

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno broke his left tibia and tore a pair of ligaments in his left knee following a sideline collision in the Nittany Lions' 13-3 loss to Wisconsin Saturday. While the initial thought was to take a wait-and-see approach to treatment, on Sunday the coach opted for surgery to repair the injuries.

“When they presented the options to him, they said this would be a quicker recovery than just rehabbing,” said Guido D'Elia, PSU's director of communications for football. “Once he was satisfied he knew everything he needed to know out of the Wisconsin game and about [this week's opponent] Temple, he said, 'Let's go.' It was like the sooner, the better.”

According to a Penn State press release, Paterno sustained a tibial plateau fracture and tore the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments. Team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli performed the surgery on Paterno, which involved inserting several screws into his leg.

Paterno's leg should be able to bear weight in about six weeks. In the meantime, he has already been fitted for a brace.

Paterno is expected to leave the hospital sometime Monday afternoon.

“The doctors will make that call, when they feel he is past everything,” D'Elia said.

D”Elia added that Paterno intends to coach against the Owls this weekend, though he is not sure if the 79-year-old will do so from the sideline or the press box.

Paterno was injured in the third quarter of the Wisconsin game when two players tumbled into him after a short pass completion. He went to the bench for more than 20 minutes before team doctors convinced him to head back to the locker room. From there, the decision was made to take him back to State College ahead of the team, on the university plane.

In Paterno's absence, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley called the defense, and offensive coordinator Galen Hall and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno called the offense. The coaches are expected to focus on their specific areas of the team in Joe Paterno's absence — however long it might be — with no single person serving as the acting head coach.


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