Penn State's Lee unsure of status for Illinois game

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State star outside linebacker Sean Lee sat out practice Monday and could miss his second consecutive game with a sprained left knee.

Lee said Tuesday morning that the knee is improving and his status will be determined later in the week. Penn State lists him as "possible" for Saturday's road game at Illinois (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

"Some of it is just time, letting it heal," Lee said on a conference call with reporters. "We'll see toward the end of the week again and what the doc says and how I feel."

Lee hurt the knee in the second quarter of Penn State's victory against Temple on Sept. 19. He didn't return to practice and was ruled out for the Iowa game toward the end of last week.

The senior co-captain still suited up for the game in full pads, but he didn't go through warm-ups. Lee wore a brace on his left knee, which he'll continue to use when he returns to the field.

"I suited up because I wanted to be in full pads," said Lee, who leads Penn State in tackles for loss (7.5) and ranks second in total tackles (32). "I wanted to come out as a captain."

For the second straight year, he watched from the sideline as Penn State fell 21-10 to Iowa. Lee missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

"It’s like deja vu almost, another frustrating loss," Lee said, "a game we made a lot of mistakes in, a game we thought we could have won. I had somewhat of a helpless feeling again."

Though the loss knocked Penn State out of the national title picture, Lee said team morale remains high. Monday's practice went well and players know there are still good goals out there, like winning back-to-back Big Ten titles.

"We want to have a great season, we want to win the rest of our games, but we can’t [make] mistakes like we did [against Iowa]," Lee said. "We made way too many mistakes to beat anybody. That’s the biggest thing coming out of this loss. You're not going to be the type of team you want to be if you make stupid mistakes."