Michael Mauti out with knee injury

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti will miss his final game with a left knee injury, and he told ESPN.com Monday afternoon he was not yet certain of its severity.

He declined to elaborate on when he might find out or whether he received X-rays or an MRI. Right now, he said, he's just waiting for the "definitive" diagnosis.

"After this week, I'm going to worry about me," he said. "Right now, it's about getting these guys ready for Wisconsin."

The Butkus Award semifinalist was carted off the field Saturday against Indiana after a low block in the first quarter. Mauti missed nine games last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in that same knee.

Fans started a "Morale for Mauti" web page before Monday's injury announcement. The page allows fans to send wishes to the Mauti family and thank the linebacker for his five years with Penn State.

Mauti said he spent much of the day reading about 500 or 600 of the messages. The senior leader, clearly emotional, took a deep breath before relaying his thanks to fans for their thoughts and prayers.

"I can't tell you how much gratitude I have and how I feel about the fans the last couple of days," he said. "It's been an outpouring of support all year. It helps you understand how special this is.

"It's very emotional for me, and it just means so much to have that support from our fans. This is a place that's obviously very close to my heart and close to a lot of people."

Beaver Stadium fell silent midway through the first quarter when Mauti crumpled to the turf. Penn State's student section gave him a standing ovation when he was shuttled to the locker room, and fellow senior linebacker Gerald Hodges dropped to one knee to offer a quick prayer.

"I've coached the greatest," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said hours after Mauti's injury. "I've coached a Hall of Fame quarterback and Hall of Fame receivers and great players. And he's one of the most special players I've been around."

Mauti finishes his season with 95 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. He played in 39 career games.