STATE?COLLEGE?- Penn State's offensive line suffered a major blow in the spring when guard Miles Dieffenbach went down with a knee injury, but he said Saturday he hopes to come back and play near the end of his senior season.
"Knee's feeling really good, and I'm definitely hopeful to get ready back on the field for the later part of the season," Dieffenbach said at Lift for Life.
He hopes to make it back for the final three or four games. He also said there's no chance of him trying to seek a medical hardship year, so this will be the final season of his PSU career either way.
Dieffenbach suffered an ACL injury in his left knee when another played rolled up on him during the spring. He said he underwent surgery but did not offer many specifics about the injury.
"Just stay on track," he said of his rehab. "Right now I'm in a really good place, haven't had any hiccups, everything's feeling good, strength is good."
Dieffenbach would have provided the Nittany Lions with a solid left side of the O-line, teaming up with tackle Donovan Smith, but his absence created another major issue for the unit.
"Miles is one of the first guys that took me under his wing when I got on campus," quarterback Christian Hackenberg said. "He and I have a really good relationship, and he's one of the guys I really look up to and have a lot of respect for on this team.
"When I saw him go down in spring, it hurt me, it hurt all of us. He's just a great guy. He's one of the guys that if you had him by your side for the rest of your life you'd be happy."
Dieffenbach, the son of longtime Univeristy of Pittsburgh tennis coach and Williamsport native George Dieffenbach, has remained a leader on the team this summer despite being limited in the activities he can do. His experience also should be a benefit helping younger linemen during the season.
"You've already seen that all summer," Hackenberg said. "He's taken the O-line in the film room, basically being a coach for them, an extension of the coaching staff when the coaching staff can't be there. With all the experience he's had, it's pretty easy for a guy like him to be able to do that and take over that type of role."
Saturday marked the 12th annual Lift for Life event that raises money for kidney cancer research. The competition workout pitted the offense against the defense, and the offense won, 30-24. The crowd at the PSU lacrosse field was estimated at 2,500.
Linebacker Ben Kline, who will miss the upcoming season with a left Achilles injury, was in charge of the event as president of PSU's Uplifting Athletes chapter.
"There's a lot of hours that go into it, raising over $100,000 for a cause and putting on an event," Kline said.
Filling his leadership role with Uplifting Athletes has given Kline motivation and kept his spirits up while dealing with his injury.
"It's good to be out there and making an impact in some way," he said. "It's really exciting, and I think that's what kind of draws everybody on the team into doing this. It gives us a chance to do something completely different and give back with the platform that we have because we're all really lucky to be doing what we do."