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Penn State's Mauti leaves with injury

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Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State Nittany Lions senior linebacker Michael Mauti (42) gives a thumbs up to the fans after he suffered a knee injury against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium in University Park on November 17, 2012. Penn State defeated Indiana 45-22.

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By Scott Brown
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:57 p.m.
 

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State outside linebacker Michael Mauti has left today's game against Indiana with a potentially serious knee injury.

The fifth-year senior took a shot to the side of his left knee when Indiana running back D'Angelo Robert tried to chop block him, and he was later taken off the Beaver Stadium field in a cart.

The injury is particularly worrisome for Mauti and Penn State since the 6-2, 232-pounder tore the ACL in the same knee in the fourth game of 2011 and missed the rest of the season.

Mauti, an All-American, candidate has sustained two season-ending knee injuries at Penn State. He has been projected to go as high as the second round in the 2013 NFL draft though his injury history could raise red flags for some teams.

“That's the only issue can he stay healthy over the long haul?” ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said earlier this week. “If it wasn't for the knee injuries then you'd probably be looking at a solid second-round pick, maybe even a late first. “

Mauti leads Penn State in tackles (93) and is six in the Big Ten in stops with 9.3 per game. Hei is also tied for third in the conference with three interceptions.

Mike Hull, a Canon-McMillan graduate, has taken Mauti's place in the lineup. The Nittany Lions (6-4, 4-2 in the Big Ten) led Indiana (4-6. 2-4) after one quarter.

Coach Bill O'Brien said he did not have a diagnosis on Mauti after the game. But his teammates made it pretty clear during post-game interviews that they will have to play Wisconsin next Saturday without the heart and soul of the Nittany Lions. Even O'Brien, who bristled at a follow-up question about Mauti's injury, got a little nostalgic when talking about the player who helped hold the team together in the aftermath of NFL sanctions.

“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. He embodies what Penn State is all about: tough, grind it out, smart. He's just a fantastic kid,” O'Brien said.

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