Paterno Set to Return

Nittany Lion coach said will be in the press box for Penn State's regular-season finale against Michigan State this weekend.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno missed the Nittany Lions' home win over Temple last week while recovering from surgery on his left leg. But he will be back in action this weekend — kind of.

On his weekly radio call-in show Thursday, Paterno said he will be in the press box when Penn State takes on Michigan State in the regular-season finale at Beaver Stadium Saturday.

“I'm going to be up in the press box watching, and I haven't been up there since the first 16 years I was coaching,” he said on the radio show.

Paterno came to Penn State as an assistant to Rip Engle in 1950 and worked from the press box until he became head coach of the Nittany Lions in 1966. Last Saturday was the first time he missed a home game in his long career as an assistant and head coach.

Paterno broke his left shin and tore two knee ligaments when two players ran into him on the sideline in Penn State's 13-3 loss at Wisconsin Nov. 4. He had surgery to repair the injuries the next day and will not be allowed to put weight on his leg until mid-December.

Paterno said watching the Temple game from home was difficult. "I was propped up in bed and had a big television screen in front of me."

It really hit him the next day, when team captains Levi Brown and Paul Posluszny came to his house to present him with a game ball.

"One of the great moments of my life," he called it. "... Levi Brown and Paul came over and gave me a game ball. I really got teary eyed. ... It was not easy not being with them [at the game]."

The coach returned to practice in a limited role earlier this week, in a wheelchair Tuesday and then in a golf cart Wednesday and Thursday.


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