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Mason lacerates liver, out for year

| Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 11:22 a.m.
Pitt's Dan Mason (40) and Aaron Donald drop Temple quarterback Chris Coyer for a third-quarter loss on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, at Heinz Field. Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review

No one would blame Pitt middle linebacker Dan Mason if he felt sorry for himself and decided football wasn't worth the trouble.

After all, he is out for the season after lacerating his liver in the Temple game on Saturday, the second devastating, season-ending injury of his career. In 2010, he severely injured ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves in his right knee, missed most of the past two seasons and amazed doctors when he returned to the lineup this year.

Coach Paul Chryst said Mason remains in good spirits, ready to fight back again.

“We all know the reality of it,” Chryst said. “But he sure didn't seem (to have) a woe-is-me attitude. You don't overcome his previous injury with that kind of attitude.”

Besides, Chryst said Mason's parents, Dereke and Carol, wouldn't allow it.

“Even if he had the slightest hint of trying to feel like that, they might have made sure it wasn't going in that direction,” Chryst said. “They are pretty impressive people.”

Mason was injured when he made the last of his 10 tackles late in the Temple game. “He wasn't sure if he landed on the ball or a foot,” Chryst said. No surgery is planned, but Chryst said doctors will monitor him.

Mason is one of three Pitt starters out for the season, Chryst said Monday as his team prepares for Saturday's game at No. 4 Notre Dame.

Right guard Ryan Schlieper, who injured his foot against Temple, and senior linebacker Manny Williams, who has missed the past two games, are the others. They are scheduled to have surgery.

Mason's injury depletes Pitt's already-slim depth at linebacker. He had replaced regular starter Shane Gordon (high ankle sprain), recording 21 tackles in the past two games.

Chryst said Gordon's status is unclear. “I don't think we will know until the end of the week,” he said.

Options include inserting fifth-year senior Joe Trebitz at middle linebacker or moving an outside player inside.

Losing Schlieper is a blow to a line that had gone seven games without an injury. Redshirt sophomore guard Arthur Doakes will replace Schlieper and make his first career start.

“I know he will be nervous,” senior guard Chris Jacobson said. “Once he gets into the film room ... he'll get more confidence.

“I just ran into Arthur, and I said, ‘Arthur, don't you dare go to class this week. You have to sit up here (studying film).'

“He goes, ‘Yeah, I know.' ”

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jdipaola@tribweb.com or 412-320-7997.

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