2008-11-20 / Local & State

"Joepa" Says He May Need Hip Replacement Surgery

By Genaro C. Armas AP SPORTS WRITER

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State coach Joe Paterno may have hip replacement surgery following the regular season.

After the 34-7 win Saturday over Indiana, the 81-year-old coach said he would not be on the sidelines for next week's season finale against No. 15 Michigan State. The No. 7 Nittany Lions can go to the Rose Bowl if they beat the Spartans.

"I'm probably going to have to get something done with this thing as soon as the Michigan State game is over, the next day probably,'' Paterno said. "I'm probably going to get a hip replacement or something like that, I don't know.''

Paterno's contract runs out this season, and he and university president Graham Spanier have tabled talks about his future until after the season ends.

They also have said a man who has had his job a record 43 years doesn't need something in writing to stay on the job.

Paterno brushed off a question that the next game might be his final one at Beaver Stadium.

"No, haven't even thought about it,'' Paterno said to a few laughs before hobbling away.

Paterno got hurt in August, two days before the season started after trying to demonstrate an onside kick in a typical end-of-the-week practice ritual.

He hasn't been on the sideline since the Sept. 27 home win over Illinois. JoePa monitors practice from a golf cart and uses a cane to get around the stadium.

Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said his boss never brings up the injury.

"We all worry about coach, but he gets mad at you if you worry,'' Bradley said. "He wants you to stay focused on what you have to get done.''

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