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April 12, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Penn State standout linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh) suffered a serious knee injury in practice Friday that will likely sideline him for the 2008 season.
A probable 2008 All-America candidate, Lee tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, according to Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, Penn State Director of Athletic Medicine. Lee will have surgery within the next 2-4 weeks and rehabilitation will take approximately nine months, according to Sebastianelli.
A rising senior, Lee played as a true freshman in 2005 and has a redshirt year available.
"I have a responsibility to the team to help do everything I can this year in what might be a non-conventional way," Lee stated. "I have to turn this into a positive. It's a bump in the road. I'm excited about the team we have and the kind of season we can have. It's a great opportunity for a young guy."
A first team Class AAAA all-state selection from Upper St. Clair High School, Lee was coming off a superlative junior season, earning 2007 first-team All-America honors from Pro Football Weekly. The vastly talented, instinctive and intelligent Lee ranked second in the Big Ten with 138 tackles last year, trailing only teammate Dan Connor, and giving Penn State just its third pair of century-busting tacklers since tackle records began being kept in 1969.
A two-time Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the-Week honoree in 2007, Lee earned second-team all-conference honors in a league that featured two of the three finalists for the Butkus Award. His 138 tackles were No. 5 on the school season list. He has 239 career stops, needing 17 to crack the school's Top 10, and with a very realistic chance of joining Connor and Paul Posluszny as the top three tacklers in program history.
Lee recorded double-figures in tackles in 10 of the last 11 games, giving him 12 in his blossoming career. An intense competitor who loves to hit, Lee also had 10.5 tackles for loss (minus-34), 3.5 sacks, forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles and grabbed one interception. The swift and strong athlete also was second on the team with eight pass breakups. He was tied for first in the Big Ten in fumble recoveries and was tied for No. 7 in the conference in forced fumbles last year.
A starter in the last 26 games, Lee punctuated his marvelous junior season by earning 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl Defensive Player of the Game accolades. He recorded a game-high 14 tackles, tied for most in Alamo Bowl history, to lead a defensive unit that allowed Texas A&M just three points over the final 49 minutes of the game. He also had a minus-yardage hit and a pass break-up in the 24-17 victory to earn a berth on the ESPN.com All-Bowl Team.
A finance major, Lee earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors last year and would have been a strong candidate for Academic All-America accolades this fall. He has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors twice.
Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions conclude spring drills on Saturday, April 19 with the highly-anticipated Blue-White Game. As in previous years, there is no admission or parking fee for the Blue-White Game. Activities will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. with a carnival outside Beaver Stadium. On Saturday, stadium parking lots will open at 8 a.m. Stadium gates A, B and C will open at 12:00 p.m., with the popular autograph session starting at 12:30 p.m. and kickoff at 2:00 p.m. The carnival will run throughout Saturday.
The Blue-White Game will air live on the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. The contest also will be televised on the Big Ten Network on Monday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET.