WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- To a man, every Penn State player still on the field dropped to one knee. Helmets off. Eyes straight ahead.
Jordan Hill had immediately clutched at his left knee when he rolled free from a pile of players. His leg had buckled on him while engaged with a blocker, and the worst was on the minds of players and coaches during the second quarter Saturday against Purdue.
But after getting iced up and carted off to the locker room, Penn State announced the senior defensive tackle had suffered only a sprain to the knee and that no ligaments were torn.
With just three games left in the season, Hill's immediate future is uncertain. But the injury wasn't serious enough to sideline him for sure.
Right now (the severity) is yet to be determined, but he's moving around, Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien said.
He's a hell of a player. When a guy like that goes down, that's a heart-and-soul type of guy.
Hill was walking around under his own power after the game and said he was doing fine before getting on the team bus.
But it was a frightening moment for his teammates.
It hurt. Me and Jordan are real close, said fellow senior lineman Sean Stanley. It hurt just to see the replay. But we're gonna rally around him and some people are gonna step up.
Another senior -- James Terry -- stepped in and took most of Hill's reps with the first-team defense.
It sucks that it came this way, but I'm ready to go whenever my number's called, Terry said.
Hill was able to return to the sideline during the second half to show that he wasn't hurt as badly as first feared.
It says a lot about him that he came out of the locker room after that and came back to cheer his teammates on, O'Brien said. That shows what type of kid he is.
Hill wasn't the only player Penn State had to do without.
Top tight end Kyle Carter did not make the trip to Purdue, staying behind in State College for treatment on his injured left ankle.
Carter caught a touchdown at the end of the Ohio State game, but was hit low as he crossed the goal line and went into the locker room with the ankle wrapped up before the game ended.
Penn State listed him as probable at the start of the week, but O'Brien was less optimistic at a Wednesday press conference.
I think he was close (to being able to play), O'Brien said Saturday.
Tailback Curtis Dukes, used almost exclusively on special teams these days, lasted just one play, taking a hard hit on the opening kickoff while on the coverage team.
I believe that was probably a concussion, O'Brien said. That was a dangerous hit. I was concerned about that.
For the first time since Week 2 at Virginia, linebacker Nyeem Wartman made the travel roster. Wartman suffered a knee injury in that game against the Cavaliers and has yet to return to the field.
He could potentially be eligible for a medical redshirt if he does not play again this year.
Wartman was one of 12 true freshmen to make the trip, including fellow District 2 alum Eugene Lewis, who has made the travel roster for every road game despite redshirting.
One player who was MIA but not injured was Bill Belton. After starting each game at tailback after returning from an ankle sprain, Belton was on the field for just one snap against the Boilermakers and did not touch the ball.
But it was a poor week of practice, and not his ankle, that was the culprit
Belton wasn't hurt, O'Brien said. You've gotta earn it on the practice field. I felt like (Zach Zwinak) deserved a start. I was up front with Billy about that. I like Billy. I think Billy's gonna be a starter again at some point because he's gonna fight, he's gonna compete.