Penn State got its first piece of bad news for the upcoming football season.
Joe Paterno suffered injuries to his right arm and hip when he was blindsided during Sunday's practice. He spent the night in the hospital and remained there for testing Monday.
Surgery is not expected to be required, but Thursday's Media Day has already been postponed.
Paterno issued a statement, saying, "tell everyone not to worry about me," and "I'm fine."
Let's hope he's right.
But this latest injury surely raises more questions on whether Paterno will be able to coach from the sidelines and if so when.
And how effectively.
Dating back to the 2006 season when he was run over at Wisconsin and suffered a broken leg, Paterno admits he wasn't 100 percent these last few years, and it limited how active he could be.
While the Nittany Lions struggled to a 7-6 record last year, Paterno was determined to make a strong comeback.
Since the spring, he could be seen frequently walking throughout State College, telling people he was logging "5-or-6 miles" per day, and he appeared in excellent condition, physically and mentally, at the Big Ten media days in Chicago two weeks ago.
He also said he could see coaching another "4-to-5 years."
This may be a significant setback to those plans, for this year and beyond.
Then again, this is not new.
In addition to the broken leg - when he put himself in harm's way, rather than behind the offense, where he almost always stands - Paterno has been knocked around or run over in practice many times in his career.
But he wasn't 84 then.
Rest assured, JoePa understands the risks and is too hands-on to stand far away from the action. If doing his job includes the possibility of being injured, apparently in Paterno's mind, so be it.
He was asked after the 2007 season, prior to his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, what he considered to be his perfect ending, and without hesitation, he said, "I think the perfect ending is you drop dead ... at the end of the game after you've kicked the winning field goal, and you're carried off the field, and everyone's singing, 'So long, Joe. It's been wonderful.'"
To that end, this latest development really shouldn't be overly surprising.
Sad yes, surprising, no.
There's a reason no one else coaches into their 80s, and it's fair to ask whether it's safe for an 84-year-old, even one as extraordinarily determined as Joe Paterno, to be in the middle of a football practice or game.
Sunday's injury reinforces that answer.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.