NITTANY NOTES: Injury Report (Part I)

Get an exclusive off-season progress report on several injured Nittany Lions, including Jerome Hayes, Stefen Wisniewski and Evan Royster.

Penn State's training staff is working with several Nittany Lions who are coming back from injuries. Here is the latest on several players who were sidelined of the end of the 2008 season.

Jerome Hayes, DE: Hayes was carted off the field with an ACL injury sustained during the Oregon State blowout. Hayes was visibly upset at the time, having just recovered from an ACL tear sustained the season before.

Hayes is said to be making "strong progress," and has been participating in the lifting sessions this winter. He still has some headway to make, though. As one observer explained, "He's not 100 percent yet. [The staffers] are keeping him out of the runs. He gets on the bike instead." The consensus among observers is that he is on track to be back for the 2009 season, but needs to complete his rehab before the staff allows him to really test the knee.

As an aside, Hayes plans on petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

Stefen Wisniewski, RG: Wisniewski sustained a sprained MCL/ACL in mid-October during a practice, which sidelined him for a short period and resulted him in returning to action wearing a knee brace.

This knee injury nagged Wisniewski throughout the season and into bowl preparations, he continued to see practice reps and game action with the brace. However, the injury to his left knee was re-aggravated during the bowl game. This resulted in Wisniewski seeing few reps against USC.

As of this report, "Wiz is fine." Observers indicate that he is participating in all conditioning drills, including "all the runs" and the consensus is that he should be "fine for spring practice." He apparently just needed a bit of time off for the knee to round back into top form.

Evan Royster, RB: Royster injured his left knee during the closing moments of the first quarter in the Rose Bowl. According to one observer, "He wanted to stay in [the game], but he was in pain. He wanted to keep going despite the [sprained] knee, but the staff wasn't going to let him risk a bad tear."

The good news is observers indicate Royster "is fine" and "his injury wasn't serious." As one observer said, "He sure doesn't look like anything is wrong with him."

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