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July 15, 2012Penn State linebacker Mike Mauti has been impatiently awaiting his return to action following a second ACL injury in three years last season. Friday, he looked better than ever. We caught up with him to talk about his progress.
Check out the video clip below to hear about his thoughts on the new Lift for Life, his knee, the season ahead and more:
Mike Mauti won't be finished talking about his left knee any time soon.
Coming off his second ACL injury in three years, Mauti feels like he is fully recovered from the injury, suffered early in the 2011 season.
Though he's likely to endure at least a few more months of questions about his rehabilitation, Mauti's performance Friday afternoon at Penn State's 10th annual Lift for Life event should have put to rest any lingering concerns over the redshirt junior's health heading into the 2012 season.
Running around like a madman with a constant smile on his face, Mauti threw weight around with ease and put punishing stress on the knee, all without any type of brace. In the process, he left no question as to where he stands just a few weeks away from the start of preseason camp in August.
"I feel great man. I feel great," he said. "I'm out here in no brace. I've been rehabbing since the day I was walking. I feel great.
"Going into this season, I feel the difference between this one and the last one, I'm a mile ahead."
Rather than worrying about his knee, Penn State fans might be more interested in wondering which linebacker position Mauti will fill for the Nittany Lions this fall.
On Penn State's summer depth chart, released June 5, the linebacker positions were crowded, to say the least, though Mauti had the nod at weakside outside linebacker.
With All-Big Ten linebacker Gerald Hodges, Glenn Carson and Khairi Fortt all fighting for playing time, Mauti revealed his role at weakside linebacker isn't set in stone just yet.
"Right now, I could be in the middle or on the weakside and I'm comfortable with either of those positions," he said. "At this point, as long as I'm on the field and I stay on the field, I think we'll be all right.
"We got a great group of guys and as long as we all stay healthy, I think we'll be good."
If Friday's performance is any indication of things to come, Mauti is - and should be - feeling good about his health as camp draws near.
"It's kind of like a marker. Once you get through (Lift for Life), you know you've got a couple more weeks and really gotta turn up the heat," he said. "All your spare time goes to what you're doing and working on your skill set and doing extra things. Your blood pressure kind of goes up a little bit."
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