Last updated: February 17. 2013 1:40AM - 55 Views

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Through three weeks of his first season at Penn State, it has become Bill O'Brien's most frequently used phrase.

Unforunately for the Nittany Lions, that phrase is "day-to-day."

The status of top tailbacks Bill Belton and Derek Day remains uncertain headed into Saturday's game against Temple at Beaver Stadium. The same goes for starting left tackle Donovan Smith.

Belton has a nagging ankle injury suffered in the opener against Ohio. Day and Smith both exited after halftime the next week against Virginia. All three missed last week's win against Navy.

Penn State listed Belton and Day as "possible" to play against the Owls, though O'Brien said Day is further along in his recovery.

Backup center Ty Howle, who suffered a torn pectoral over the summer, could return as soon as this week.

Defensive end Pete Massaro (shoulder) and linebacker Nyeem Wartman of Valley View (knee) have both been ruled out for Saturday. Wartman's injury is the most serious.

"I wouldn't expect him back for awhile," O'Brien said.

Smith was not on the injury report, but he also did not appear there last week and was on the sidelines in practice all week before missing the game.

Though he doesn't have a specific timeframe for getting them back on the field, O'Brien said he's generally happy with the job done in the backfield by Michael Zordich and Curtis Dukes in their absence.

"When you play running back, whether it's in college or the NFL, you get hit," O'Brien said. "It's a very, very physical positon. It's a position where guys really lay it out on the line and take some really tough, tough hits. And those are guys that are tough, but at the same time, injuries occur.

"We're fortunate here at Penn State because we have a decent amount of guys there. They all do something a little bit different."

Zordich, normally a fullback, led the Lions in rushing against Navy. But the offense remains predominately pass-heavy, in part because of O'Brien's tendencies as a play-caller and in part because of the injuries.

Quarterback Matt McGloin ranks second in the Big Ten in completions (54) and attempts (104), while leading the conference in touchdown passes with eight. Top target Allen Robinson is first in receptions (24), receiving yards (322) and touchdown catches (4).

On the other side of it, Penn State ranks last in the Big Ten in rushing at 107.7 yards per game, putting them 102nd out of 120 teams in the country.

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