SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ohio State sophomore quarterback Justin Fields was hoping these two weeks since the Big Ten Championship Game would be enough to help his sprained MCL get back to its old ways and no longer bother him.
That has not been the case, however, and speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Fields was clearly frustrated by a slower recovery process than he was anticipating.
“My knee’s probably not like I wanted it to be right now,” Fields said. “But I think with the treatment every day and just resting every day, hopefully it’ll be better by the game.”
Fields is planning on wearing the smaller knee brace that he wore during the Michigan game. It is also the same brace he had replaced by a much larger one when he went down against the Wolverines.
He did, however, bring both braces just in case.
The larger brace is bulkier and hinders Fields’ running. The smaller brace is more forgiving of his agility and keeps the defense a little more honest where the running quarterback is concerned.
And Fields’ ability to run could be a much-needed addition to Ohio State’s plan of attack on Saturday.
“Yeah, I think it just brings another aspect to my game, being able to move better and kind of maneuver the defender,” he explained. “So that’s really why I don’t want that knee brace on. But, you know, I have to wear it, so it is what it is.”
While Fields feels well enough to go with the smaller brace, he is already resigned to the fact that his knee needs some help.
He is icing it, resting it, and even doing things for it that he doesn’t quite understand.
All in an effort to get his knee to where he was hoping it would be weeks ago.
“I definitely thought I would be closer to 100%,” Fields said. “If I gave a percentage right now, I’d be like 80-85 right now. I’m just gonna hope and pray that I feel better by game day.”
This has been a frustrating last month of the season for Fields. He can’t do what comes naturally for him and has to make sure he doesn’t make things worse.
Despite the caution, he is still taking every practice rep he can get.
“I try to get as many reps as possible really,” he said. “I would say I haven’t really missed any reps in terms of just getting in there and playing, but I just really can’t move like I want to.”
The Ohio State rehab team has worked some miracles in the past and will no doubt be putting in the time to perform another one with Justin Fields’ knee.
Time is running out and 100% may not be something that is attainable.
But Fields and his physical therapy team will work as hard as possible to get as close to 100% as they can.