STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Penn State practice is a little quieter this week with coach Joe Paterno recovering from leg surgery.

“For the last three years that I’ve been up here, he’s been up and down the field yelling at us,” center A.Q. Shipley said Tuesday. “Not hearing the voice is different.”

Shipley could be getting an earful soon.

The 79-year-old Paterno remained in good condition Tuesday at Mount Nittany Medical Center, two days after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured shin bone and two torn knee ligaments in his left leg. He was expected to return to practice later this week and coach the Nittany Lions’ next game Saturday against Temple. It’s unclear whether Paterno would be on the sideline or in a coach’s box.

“I guess he’s doing OK. I know he’s anxious to get back at it,” defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. “He’s been driving us crazy down here with calls.”

Paterno was hurt after two players ran into him along the sidelines in the second half of Penn State’s loss last week at Wisconsin. The injury was a first for the 41-year coaching veteran.

Team doctor Wayne Sebastianelli said Monday that Paterno was expected to make a full recovery after several screws were inserted into the injured leg. Paterno, fitted with a temporary brace, might be able to put weight on the leg in about six weeks.

Until then, he might be confined to roaming the sidelines in a golf cart, at least during practice.

But the logistics of Paterno in a cart on the field during a game might be tough. For one, Paterno might not have a good view if he’s relegated to sitting. And sidelines can get pretty full on game days with players, coaches, school officials, referees and recruits, so the coach’s box above the field might afford him the best view.

Either way, Bradley said his boss doesn’t like the spotlight.

“He’s probably a little embarrassed that all this attention is on him instead of the team,” said Bradley, who has worked with Paterno for 28 years.

Cornerback Tony Davis said Bradley runs team meetings in Paterno’s absence.

“Coach Bradley keeps everything the same,” Davis said. “No matter what happens, he keeps everything the same.”

Staffers have said that Paterno has been reviewing scouting reports and game plans for Temple from his hospital bed. The Nittany Lions can likely wrap up a date to a New Year’s Day bowl game with wins at home over the Owls and next week against Michigan State.

One of Paterno’s main football worries might be the offense, which struggled to score points again in the 13-3 loss to the Badgers.

So Shipley expects his coach back with the team come Saturday.

“I wouldn’t assume any other way,” he said. “He’s got a tough nature, a gritty attitude. He’s a stubborn man.”

AP-ES-11-07-06 1712EST



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