Penn State coach James Franklin originally planned to practice with two quarterbacks this week, neither named Sean Clifford.
But the third-year starter, who’s nursing an unspecified upper-body injury, participated with some passes. He also split snaps with Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux on Wednesday.
Clifford’s return to the practice field doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll return to Beaver Stadium when the No. 7 Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) host Illinois (2-5, 1-3) on Saturday.
If Clifford does play, it would be his first action since he was knocked out of the loss to Iowa on Oct. 9. If he doesn’t, the Nittany Lions will turn to Roberson or true freshman Vellieux to attempt their fourth-straight win over the Illini.
Like Penn State, Illinois is coming off a bye, trying to get its offense going, possibly without starting quarterback Brandon Peters. He was injured during a shutout loss to Wisconsin on Oct. 9.
Illini coach Bret Bielema said he hoped to get Peters back, but noted on Monday he hasn’t been cleared to practice.
Sophomore Artur Sitkowski will start if Peters can’t. Sitkowski has completed 66 of 129 passes for 666 yards with six touchdowns and an interception this year.
Game time Saturday is 11 am central time and can be seen on ABC.