STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno turned
into an armchair quarterback Saturday for the first time in nearly
Paterno was at home a day after being released from the
hospital, and was expected to watch his team on television. The
game against Temple was the Nittany Lions' first without the
79-year-old Paterno since 1977.
Paterno was released from Mount Nittany Medical Center on Friday
night, five days after an operation to repair a broken shinbone and
two torn knee ligaments in his left leg. Team doctor Wayne
Sebastianelli examined Paterno on Saturday morning at home and said
the coach continues to improve.
Two players ran into Paterno along the sideline in a game last
weekend at Wisconsin. Paterno relented to doctors' orders on
Thursday and told his assistants that he would skip the game to
concentrate on his recovery.
Fans, though, didn't forget about him.
One handwritten sign hung along the railing of Beaver Stadium's
student section read: "Roll up your pant legs for JoePa."
"After 41 years, JoePa can still take a hit! Get well soon,"
read another banner.
The only other game Paterno missed as a head coach was in 1977,
after his son David was involved in an accident.
Outside the stadium, fans turned a bronzed statue of Paterno
into a makeshift shrine, snapping pictures and adorning the
monument with blue-and-white pompoms and necklaces. The statue's
left knee already had been wrapped with a bandage.
Sebastianelli has kept open the possibility of Paterno calling
the shots from a coach's box high above the Beaver Stadium field
for the regular-season finale Nov. 18 against Michigan State.
Doctors have even said there's a chance Paterno, if his recovery
is going well, might be able to coach from the sidelines at a bowl
game -- so long as he is watching from a golf cart.