Penn State Football

Buffalo punter Evan Finegan returns to UB after surgery, remains grateful to Penn State community

Buffalo punter Evan Finegan — who suffered a gruesome leg injury Saturday against Penn State — remains in a wheelchair but is upbeat and grateful for the outpouring of support, according to reports.

The redshirt sophomore returned to Buffalo on Tuesday and attended practice Wednesday morning. He spoke to two of his local outlets and, in a story published Wednesday, expressed gratitude for all the well-wishes.

After all, the Bulls’ punter had plenty of notes to read from fans on Twitter — even as late as Wednesday afternoon, he said.

“That was probably the easiest way for strangers to find me,” Finegan told The Buffalo News. “It was surprising. I woke up from surgery, turned on my phone and there were hundreds and hundreds of messages. I don’t know any of the people who sent them to me. They were just college football fans, from all over the country.

“It shows that it’s more than sports, and that people genuinely care, and it’s so nice to see people leave their biases aside. These people knew nothing about me, other than what they see on my social media account or on my UB bio or because of football. And I know nothing about them. But people were so kind.”

Finegan underwent a four-hour surgery Sunday at Mount Nittany Medical Center to insert a rod into his right leg as a result of a broken tibia and fibula. The injury came in the third quarter of Saturday’s game, when speedster Journey Brown rushed to block the kick — and Finegan’s extended right leg snapped upon a collision with him.

Fox did not show a replay of the hit, although it’s been described as similar to the infamous Joe Theismann injury.

Finegan told The Buffalo News he holds no animosity toward Brown.

“Everyone’s trying to make a play,” he said. “I don’t hold anything against him. It’s part of a violent game and I’m in a vulnerable position at times.”

Penn State head coach James Franklin opened his Saturday postgame press conference by saying the team’s thoughts were with Finegan. And, on Tuesday, the head coach said he and a few members of the Nittany Lions paid Finegan a visit in the hospital.

“Got a chance to go over and see the family and the young man, and seems to be doing well,” Franklin said. “I think that kicker/specialist/long snapper community is tight. They all know each other, especially our guys who are over there supporting him, as well.

“We wish him and his family nothing but the best and a speedy recovery.”

According to The Buffalo News, he cannot put weight on his right leg for at least six weeks — and he’ll have to wear a walking boot with his leg heavily wrapped. He’s hopeful he’ll be ready to play in time for the 2020 season.

But, at this point, he’s just happy to be back in Buffalo. And he’s grateful for the support in he received in Happy Valley.

“I want to thank the entire Penn State community for taking me in as their own,” he said on Twitter.