Cael Sanderson publicly commented on Jason Nolf's injury on his Penn State coaches radio show on Monday night.
Per Tim Own of Blue White Illustrated, Sanderson was quoted as saying:
Really, it’s not as bad as we feared, but it’s going to be some time before we get him back in, just to play it safe and try to get him back to close as 100 percent as we can before the postseason. We probably won’t even try to get him a dual meet. We’ll just try to get him ready for the postseason. It will be week to week, and Jason seems to recover and get back on his feet with minor injuries. This one is not quite as minor, but it’s not anything that needed surgery or anything, so it’s just a matter of time.
The Nittany Lions head coach did not offer specifics on the injury, such as whether it was a ligament tear or dislocated kneecap, and still has not decided who will take Nolf's place at 157lb for the remaining duals against #1 Ohio State, #3 Iowa, and Buffalo.
Nolf's injury will undoubtedly have an impact on those first two duals, as well as the national title picture. The junior would have just over 30 days to heal in preparation for the Big Ten tournament, which takes place the first weekend of March.
The defending national champion has wrestled over 17 matches, which is the minimum required to appear in the RPI for NCAA qualifying purposes. His current winning percentage is 94.7 percent, which would put him above the 70 percent typically needed to be considered for an at-large bid to NCAAs.
Just one year ago, Nick Suriano suffered an injury in PSU's final dual of the year and needed a wild card to get into NCAAs. Suriano weighed in for the conference tournament, injury defaulted out after a few seconds in his first match, and then medically forfeited out of the tournament. If Nolf wanted to wrestle at the national tournament in Cleveland, he would at least have to follow that plan.
What is not clear is if Nolf would be eligible to appear in the final Coach's Rankings. He likely would if he follows the Suriano plan and wrestles at least one second at Big Tens. So, there is little doubt Nolf can qualify for the NCAA tournament. What remains to be seen is what kind of Nolf we'll see on St. Patrick's Day weekend.