The Penn State football team was hit with its first significant injury of the preseason Sunday, but the issue was not with a player.
Hall-of-Fame coach Joe Paterno was blindsided during the session and fell to the ground, breaking his right arm and hip. A source close to the program said both injuries are hairline fractures and the 84-year-old will not have to undergo surgery to repair them.
In a prepared statement, Paterno said, I expect to be back at practice soon. I'm doing fine; tell everyone not to worry about me. I like the effort I have seen from the squad during our first few practices, but we have a long way to go to get ready for the schedule we have.
According to a team source, Paterno was working with the defense at the time of the injury. The offense and defense were stationed on different sides of Holuba Hall, Penn State's indoor practice facility. The injury happened when an offensive player overran a route, strayed onto the defensive side of the field and inadvertently hit Paterno from the blindside, according to the source.
Paterno was taken to nearby Mount Nittany Medical Center and remained overnight for observation. He initially intended to attend Monday's practice, but that was ruled out by doctors following some tests at about 2:45 p.m. Doctors are still trying to determine how much weight Paterno can put on the hip, according to the source.
Paterno's arm is likely to be in a sling for a couple of weeks, the source added.
Sunday was Penn State's fourth practice of the preseason and, per NCAA rules, the team was outfitted only in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets. Monday marks the first day of full-pad drills.
In the past four seasons, Paterno has been slowed by a broken leg, an injured hip that ultimately had to be replaced and what was described as a digestive ailment.
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