Sabino Breaks Hand, Plans to Play in Opener
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Etienne Sabino wasn’t sure why his left hand was throbbing.
Photo by Jim Davidson
At first he couldn’t remember doing anything during Ohio State’s jersey scrimmage that would have caused this type of pain.
He kept playing, but the pain only continued to worsen until the point his hand was swollen by the end of Saturday’s scrimmage.
“At some point in the scrimmage I came off a block and I think I got stuck in somebody’s facemask,” Sabino said Sunday during Ohio State’s media day.
“I kept playing and I just thought it was a small bruise but after a couple plays I saw it throbbing.”
Sabino decided that was enough and he opted to see a doctor Saturday evening after the scrimmage, which still does not have a winner. It turns out, it wasn’t a bruise.
“I got X-rays and they said it was broken,” he said.
The redshirt junior out of Miami, Fla. had surgery on the broken hand Sunday morning, but that did not stop him from showing up to Ohio State’s media day with his arm in a sling. He was still a little groggy, but Sabino doesn’t expect the injury to keep him off the field for long.
“All it does it not let me practice this week, but that’s all it does. It doesn’t change anything,” he said.
“I’ll be good to play, though. I just have to play with a cast on.”
After taking a “voluntary” redshirt last season, it is going to take a whole lot more than a broken hand to keep Sabino from playing in the season-opener against Akron on Sept. 3.
With the departures of seniors Brian Rolle and Ross Homan—not to mention key backups like Dorian Bell and Jonathan Newsome—Sabino moved into the starting lineup back in the spring. With the way he was playing this fall, Sabino seemed to be a lock for one of the two open spots next to classmate Andrew Sweat.
“I feel like I’ve played a lot this fall. I feel like I played well and I’m excited to play,” the 6-3, 242-pound linebacker said.
“I definitely have a good feeling about this season.”
Right now, Sabino is slated to play the Sam outside linebacker position in the base defense, but he has also been working inside at middle linebacker when the Buckeyes go to their nickel defense.
“I’ve been getting a lot of reps in the nickel at Mike as well, so I expect to play both positions,” he said.
“I like them both because you’re on the field.”
After last year, that is all Sabino really cares about.
With a healthy Tyler Moeller and more teams playing the spread offense, the Buckeyes could be in the nickel a lot this fall; possibly more than their base defense. A week off shouldn’t cost Sabino his spot on the nickel defense, but he knows he is still battling with junior Storm Klein, who is playing middle linebacker in the base defense.
“I don’t think you can ever feel like that, but I think the coaches know what I can do,” Sabino said of having a guaranteed spot.
“When I come back I’m just going to continue to prove myself.”
By the time he gets back next week, Ohio State will already be preparing their game plan for Akron. Sabino has been doing this long enough that he should be able to jump right back in the mix.
If he does have to miss any time because of the injury, Sabino is confident true freshman Ryan Shazier is ready to jump in and do the job until he returns.
“I think Ryan’s been doing a good job picking up the defense,” Sabino said.
“I think he’s been doing really well.
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