Utah football players Paul Kruger and Greg Newman, who were stabbed after leaving a party in Salt Lake City, are making progress in their recoveries.

The players and Kruger's younger brother David were attacked Saturday around 11 p.m. by a group of men near 2900 South and 700 East.

Paul Kruger, who remains hospitalized after being stabbed with a knife in the abdomen and ribs, joined Newman and head coach Kyle Whittingham in releasing statements to the media Monday afternoon.

"My condition has been upgraded to fair and I feel good about my improvement. I'm looking forward to being back in school and with my team," Paul Kruger said. "I'm just glad that my brother, Greg and I are all going to be OK.

"If all goes well, I'll be able to participate in spring ball," he said. "It was a scary situation. I was with my sister, brother and friends, and you don't expect that to happen."

According to Kruger's father, also named Paul, the men were "jumped from behind" by a group of guys in two cars. They pulled up after people in another vehicle shouted profanities at the players and were told to "shut up and get out of here."

Newman was stabbed in the back with a screwdriver, while the younger Kruger — a Timpanogos High senior who plans to play his college football at Utah — was reportedly hit in the face with a pipe or brass knuckles during the assault.

"I was treated and released yesterday afternoon for two stab wounds that went about four inches into my side. I went back into the hospital today for a follow-up and the doctor said the wounds looked good and I should be healed in about three weeks," Newman said. "I'm grateful that they didn't hit anything serious and that I'll be able to get to go back to school in a few days and back working out in a few weeks. I'm looking forward to having things return to normal."

Whittingham said the incident "appears to be a classic example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The players, he noted, are "on the road to recovery" in the aftermath of the attack.

"And for that we are very grateful," Whittingham said. "As for the incident on Saturday night, we have been in contact with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's department and were told that the investigation is in its preliminary stages."

Utah spokesperson Liz Abel said athletic department officials are waiting to hear what investigators have to say before making additional comments on the matter.

"In the meantime, our primary concern is for the full recovery of our injured student-athletes," Whittingham said. "In talking with both Paul and Greg, they are relieved and upbeat about their prognosis."

Both Kruger and Newman played in all 13 games last season as the Utes went 9-4 and defeated Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Kruger, a defensive end, was Utah's fourth-leading tackler and earned second-team Freshman All-American recognition from the Sporting News and Scout.com.

Newman, a junior who transferred to Utah from Colorado in 2005, is a defensive lineman who made two starts last season.

The Utes are scheduled to begin spring ball on March 11.

E-mail: [email protected]