Penn State Wrestling: Latest Updates on Carter Starocci's injured knee

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NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home for the latest Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball news, updates, and analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions

The latest news, insight, and analysis of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, and Penn State Basketball, including schedules, game results, analysis of breaking news, rumors, speculation, and recruiting coverage of future Penn State Nittany Lions

NittanyCentral is home to the latest Penn State Nittany Lions news, updates, insight, and analysis, including in-depth coverage of Penn State Football, Penn State Wrestling, Penn State Basketball, and much more

Penn State Wrestling: Latest Updates on Carter Starocci’s injured knee

Penn State Wrestling and its fans are still holding their breath from what unfolded during the Nittany Lions 55-0 thrashing of Edinboro Sunday afternoon.

Penn State Wrestling, Carter Starocci
The 2024 Penn State Wrestling Team. (Photo by Scott Pilutik, For NittanyCentral)

By now, the entire collegiate wrestling world knows what happened. Up 18-5 late in the first period against Joey Arnold, Carter Starocci was working to try to turn the pin at the center of the mat. And in the ensuing scramble, Starocci left his right leg in a bit of a compromised position.

If you’re currently living under a rock or in the state of Iowa, here is a clip of the injury.

https://twitter.com/JustinJBasch/status/1761843266700419249

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And look, this is wrestling and these things happen. It’s just that the timing is far from ideal.

In Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson‘s post-dual press conference, he was very tight-lipped about Carter’s status which was no surprise. However here are some things we do know.

First off, this is the same right knee that Carter injured last May when he lost to Alex Dieringer 7-1. Starocci was then forced to forfeit the rest of his matches.

The second thing we know is that Starocci is one of the hardest-working athletes in the country and he was already grinding out the physical therapy and rehab last night and this morning. If there is anyone who can come back from a knee injury this late in the season, it’s Starocci.

The third thing to know about Starocci is how tough he is.

Following Carter’s marathon win against Michael Kemerer in Penn State’s dual against Iowa two years ago, he was out of the lineup for almost a full month. Then Starocci came back, mowed down the field at the 2022 Big Ten Championships, and then dusted everyone on the 2022 NCAA’s to take home his second straight title.

But what many people didn’t know during this run was the fact Carter did this with a broken hand. That didn’t come out until after Starocci and the Nittany Lions hoisted their trophies at the end of the tournament.

Furthermore, knee injuries to athletes who then go on to win NCAA titles isn’t something that’s impossible. Spencer Lee won his third NCAA title in 2021 on what he described as zero ACL’s.

And in Jason Nolf’s junior campaign he suffered a really bad knee injury in Penn State’s dual against Rutgers. Nolf was then able to come back, wrestle in the Big Ten’s, grab an automatic bid, and then completely roll the field in the 2018 NCAA Championships.

But the biggest difference between these two guys and what is going to face Carter is the fact their knee injuries didn’t happen two weeks prior to the Big Ten’s.

In Nolf’s case, he suffered his injury in late January. Which is light years different than late February*.

So here’s the question, can Carter Starocci come back from this and still compete at a high level?

The easy answer is “Yes” because Starocci is possibly the only collegiate wrestler in the nation who can do it. Plus it doesn’t hurt that he can still walk through the Big Tens on a single, functioning knee.

But, and this is a huge “but”, if he somehow re-injures the knee, then his season will be over. And with how physically demanding wrestling is, this can happen at any time and in any moment during a match.

With all of this said, I still have all of my money on Carter. At this point in his career, how can you bet against him?

* – apparently I think 30 days is equivalent to 5.8 trillion miles … that’s who you’re dealing with people.

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Chris Snyder
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