Buckeyes Battling Injuries Heading Into Spring Game Finale
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Given the physical nature of Urban Meyer’s first spring at Ohio State, it should come as no surprise the Buckeyes are battling injury issues heading into the final two practices.
The first 13 practice of the Meyer era have been intense and up-tempo, with a lot of hitting and competition. The record on winner-loser days now sits at 3-1-2 in favor of the defense, with the two squads tying the last two times out.
There were a number of key players missing from practice Wednesday. That may have contributed to the dip in intensity from last week’s winner-loser day; which Meyer called one of the best spring practices he has ever seen.
The Buckeyes will hit the field one last time on Friday before they roll into Ohio Stadium Saturday for the 2012 LiFE Sports Spring Game (1:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). The mounting injuries are a concern for Meyer, but he isn’t quite worried about the integrity of the scrimmage on Saturday.
“Every team in the country is dealing with that right now,” he said after practice Wednesday.
“We’ll be fine for the spring game. I’m actually pleased. I’ve been in much worse situations for a spring game.”
The most important thing for Meyer and the Buckeyes is that they have enough bodies on the offensive and defensive lines. That’s still the case as of today, and Friday’s practice is likely to be a little more than a walk-through for Saturday’s spring finale.
Here’s a closer look at Ohio State’s injury situation.
QB — Third-string freshman Cardale Jones missed Wednesday’s practice due to illness.
Photo by Jim Davidson
RB — Carlos Hyde is still battling a right ankle injury, while Bri’onte Dunn and Rod Smith have both been banged up this spring, but all of them were sharing equal reps in practice Wednesday.
WR — Sophomore Evan Spencer will miss the rest of the spring with a broken bone in his left shoulder. The injury sounds worse than it is, however, as Spencer expects to be healed in the next couple weeks. Redshirt sophomore Tyrone (T.Y.) Williams returned to the field Wednesday after missing last Saturday’s practice with a leg injury. Redshirt sophomore Verlon Reed continues to be limited following ACL surgery last season. He is doing more position drills, and has even returned some punts, but Reed will not see full action until the fall.
TE/FB — The Buckeyes are healthy at both positions, with Zach Boren showing no lingering effects from getting shaken up in Saturday’s practice. Walk-on Darryl Wood has been held out of practice by an injury this spring.
OL — Freshman center Jacoby Boren will miss the rest of spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery for a torn labrum suffered in the state title game back in December. Second-year center Brian Bobek injured his ankle during Saturday’s practice, but he was back on the field Wednesday taking snaps with the second-team offense. Walk-on Ivon Blackmon continues to miss practice with a knee injury.
DL — Senior defensive end Nathan Williams continues to rehab his right knee after undergoing microfracture surgery. He was in shoulder pads again Wednesday, but has not participated in any drills this spring. He is not expected to be back on the field until the fall. Freshman Se’Von Pittman is also expected to miss the rest of spring practice after straining his knee early in camp. Redshirt freshman Kenny Hayes has an unspecified health issue that has kept him from attending practice much, if at all this spring.
Photo by Dan Harker
LB — Senior Storm Klein continues to miss practice because of injury. He was battling a knee issue suffered during off-season conditioning, and has not been able to practice much this spring. Sophomore Ryan Shazier missed Wednesday’s practice due to illness, and classmate Curtis Grant was limited after leaving Saturday’s practice with a stinger. He took part in 7-on-7 drills, but did not play in the scrimmage. He was replaced by Connor Crowell at Mike linebacker. Freshman Josh Perry also continues to be limited this spring. He was in a yellow mesh jersey on Wednesday.
DB — Starting safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant both missed Wednesday’s practice because of leg injuries. Barnett is dealing with a muscle injury that has kept him out of at least three practices, while Bryant was knocked out of Saturday’s practice with a leg injury. Veteran backups Jamie Wood and Zach Domicone are both still recovering from off-season surgery, although Wood has started to participate in some position drills this spring.
K — Junior place kicker Drew Basil sprained his ankle during practice Wednesday and could not finish the day. Walk-ons Russell Doup and Kyle Clinton took over kicking duties, with Clinton slicing a potential scrimmage-winning kick wide to the right as time expired.
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