Sabino Out at Least Three Weeks
By Brandon Castel
Photo by Jim Davidson
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As we reported earlier today, linebacker Etienne Sabino will miss Saturday’s game against Indiana and at least two more contests with a cracked bone in his lower leg.
“Tremendous blow, very good player, but it goes farther beyond that,” Meyer said Monday during his press conference.
“I made a comment a couple weeks ago (on) the toughest thing about coaching and Sabino's like a son and a brother to everybody. He's an incredible human being. I love that guy. He's hurting.”
The fifth-year linebacker out of Miami cracked a bone in his fibula, or calf bone, which connects the knee and ankle in his right leg when he was leg-whipped in the first half of Ohio State’s 63-38 win over Nebraska Saturday night.
Sabino, who is third on the team in tackles this season, left the game on a cart but returned to the sideline with his pads still on just before halftime. By the second half, it was determined he could not return to the game.
“He talked to the team afterwards, and it was an emotional moment,” Meyer said of Sabino, one of the team’s senior captains.
“This team's getting pretty close because of guys like him. We're going to miss him. He's out.”
Ohio State’s starting Sam (strongside) linebacker already had surgery to repair the broken bone, and the doctors put a plate in his lower right leg, which will keep him out of action at least until the game against Illinois on Nov. 3.
“Best case is three weeks,” Meyer said Monday.
“The worst case is longer. We hope to get him back.”
There are only six more games left in Sabino’s senior season, although there is a bye week following the Illinois game next month. He was fifth on the team in tackles with 62 a year ago and he is currently third behind Ryan Shazier and Christian Bryant on this team with 37 tackles in five games.
His backup, Joshua Perry, has a total of two tackles this season, but he played decently after Sabino went down with the injury in the first half against Nebraska.
“He played OK. He's got to play better,” Meyer said of the freshman from Olentangy High School.
“But he's willing and a good person, and a lot of talent. Great kid. A local guy. Very talented. He's just got to learn to release and let it go.”
According to Meyer, the Buckeyes will likely play a lot of nickel defense against Indiana’s spread attack, with Shazier and Storm Klein as the two linebackers. He isn’t sure if safety C.J. Barnett will be able to return from his high ankle sprain – he was running around out there on Sunday – but they are going to do need some of their young linebackers to play like veterans while Sabino is out.
“Josh Perry has to step up. He has all the talent,” Meyer said.
“David Perkins is a guy that's helping us on kickoff but should be further ahead. Jamal Marcus should be further ahead. Camren Williams played a little bit. He was in on the big one. They're all good kids. They come from good people, good families, and they have talent. So we've just got to accelerate their growth.”
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