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James Franklin provides bye week injury update

We got a better sense of who was – and who was not – on the field for Penn State football tonight.



Penn State Football, James Franklin, injury
Sep 30, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin leads his team on the field against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Clichés aside, the bye week has come at an opportune time for Penn State football. The Nittany Lions had been battling some bumps and bruises leading up to Saturday’s matchup at Northwestern. However, Penn State experienced what was, in many ways, its worst game with injuries this season Saturday afternoon. Offensive starters JB Nelson and Kaytron Allen left the game in the second quarter, while Harrison Wallace III has been battling an injury for several weeks. During today’s media practice availability, we caught a quick glimpse of who was – and was not – on the field and received a limited injury update from head coach James Franklin.

Penn State football dealing with “bumps and bruises” going into the bye week

The bye week is always an opportunity to recover physically, but that aspect has been emphasized for Penn State football this week. The Nittany Lions were without several key players both going into and during last week’s game at Northwestern. “Going into the bye week, we got some bumps and bruises in this game and in general. So this bye week will be important for us,” James Franklin said after the game on Saturday.

Penn State’s No.2 WR Harrison Wallace III has been battling an injury for the better part of the last month. Wallace did not play in Week 3 at Illinois. He appeared in the White Out game versus Iowa, but seemed limited. Wallace was listed as questionable going into the Northwestern game and ultimately did not appear. But Wallace was seen as a participant during tonight’s practice. 

The Nittany Lions also suffered several key blows in Saturday’s matchup with the Wildcats. Starting OL JB Nelson was seen being carted off the field during a TV timeout. After the game, Franklin noted that Nelson was back with the team. However, he was not seen tonight at practice. 

Similarly, Penn State’s leading rusher Kaytron Allen exited Saturday’s game in the second quarter with an injury. Allen was seen on the sidelines during the second half but did not return. After the game, James Franklin noted that he had not received a full medical report on Allen. But Kaytron Allen was back on the field tonight, albeit with a little extra padding. 

James Franklin provides a limited injury update

As most Penn State football fans are well aware, James Franklin reveals very little information regarding injuries. Typically, he will only discuss them if the injury has been deemed season-ending. However, a bit of reading between the lines can be done based on how Franklin answers specific injury questions. 

As was the case again tonight. Franklin declined to comment when asked about the status of JB Nelson, noting, “Like for nine years, I’m not going to talk about injuries unless they’re season-ending.” In a way, the non-answer could be a positive sign for Penn State fans, meaning Nelson has the opportunity to return in 2023. 

However, Franklin did provide a good bit of background when discussing the injury status of Harrison Wallace III. According to Franklin, Wallace was ready to play last week at Northwestern until the injury was reaggravated. However, Penn State football expects him to be a full participant moving forward.

“He was really full go last week and got stepped on and tweaked it [the injury] again,” Franklin said tonight. “But he looked good today. So, we anticipate having him back. And, like I said, he was really going to be back the week before.”

Penn State football returns to action against UMass on October 14.

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A third-generation Penn Stater, Matt is Editor-in-Chief for Basic Blues Nation, co-host of the podcast PSU Tailgate Talk, and a credentialed member of the Penn State football media. Matt also works as a staffer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Matt lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and a small army of pets.