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Paterno to remain in hospital as precaution

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Joe Paterno will stay in the hospital
at least through Wednesday, and possibly longer, as a precautionary
step in the Penn State coach's recovery from left leg surgery.

The 79-year-old coach was in good condition Tuesday night at
Mount Nittany Medical Center and had not had any complications from
the operation, said Guido D'Elia, a team spokesman. Doctors were
being "extra-cautious" and would take it day-to-day in
determining when he could be released, D'Elia said.

The feisty Paterno, eager to get home, "has not been the best
rehab patient," D'Elia said. Paterno still wants to return to
practice, and missing Saturday's game against Temple "was not a
consideration" for him, D'Elia said.

Doctors operated Sunday on Paterno to repair a fractured shin
bone and two torn knee ligaments in the left leg. The 41-year head
coaching veteran was walloped along the sideline on Saturday by two
players in the second half of Penn State's loss to Wisconsin.

The Nittany Lions have pressed on without him, though practice
has been a little quieter.

"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."

Paterno has been studying scouting reports and game plans from
his hospital bed, giving assistants an earful over the phone and
reviewing practice tapes.

"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."

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

If he returns to practice, Paterno 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."

The Nittany Lions can likely wrap up a date to a New Year's Day
bowl with wins at home over the Owls and next week against Michigan
State. Shipley said he expects his head 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."