Despite a lower back infection that makes it difficult to sit or stand for an extended period of time, Dave Pietramala said he plans to travel with No. 14 Johns Hopkins (6-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten) for Sunday night's Big Ten Conference showdown with No. 15 Penn State (7-4, 1-1) at 7 p.m.
Pietramala, who returned to Saturday's 13-12 win against Ohio State after a four-game absence marked by hospitalization and surgery, said he isn't sure how his body will handle a road trip on a bus versus an airplane.
"I don't know if it's easier or worse," he said Wednesday morning. "I haven't done it yet, so we'll have to see. We travel with two buses – one larger, one smaller with the smaller one for injured players and administrators. So we'll see which one I can travel on, but we'll see how it goes."
The ailment has taken a toll on Pietramala, who is noticeably thinner, walks gingerly, and sat on a scooter on the sideline. Pietramala, who has been limited to coaching a few drills at practice sessions, conceded that he's cognizant of following his doctor's orders.
"With these types of things, you still have to make sure you follow protocol with all of your antibiotics and all that," he said. "But there's still that concern in the back of your mind that it could come back, but so far, so good. So all positive signs and steps."
But other than exhaustion, Pietramala said he has had no setbacks since Saturday, which is an encouraging sign.
"It's a day-by-day thing," he said. "I feel a little bit better each day, and I'm starting to get a little bit stronger. I'm still tired and I tire quickly, but nonetheless, the reports from my doctor have been positive, and it's just been a day-by-day thing. Each day has been a little bit better than the one before."