Lenzelle Smith OK After Tuesday’s Fall
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lenzelle Smith Jr. is hurting after Tuesday night’s 22-point win over Duke, but he isn’t ‘hurt.’
The sophomore out of Zion, Ill. was in obvious pain after crashing to the court in the second half of the Buckeyes’ 85-63 win over the Blue Devils. He was down on the court with trainers gathered around him, but eventually walked off under his own power.
“He's in good shape. He just got the wind knocked out of him and kind of hit his tailbone but I think he's going to be in good shape,” Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta said after the big win.
is assisted by OSU trainers after a nasty fall in the Duke game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
“He was fine after the game.”
With less than three minutes remaining and the Buckeyes leading by close to 20 points, Smith went up strong for a rebound on a missed free throw by Jared Sullinger. As he skied upward for the ball he collided with Duke forward Mason Plumlee and came crashing down hard on his backside.
For a brief moment, it was a surreal flashback to the devastating back injury suffered by Evan Turner—who was in attendance for the Duke game—nearly two years ago. The frenzied buzz at Value City Arena became a hushed silence as the sold-out crowd watched Smith lying on the floor.
Trainers rushed to his side, and for a minute, it was a pretty eerie scene under the basket. But Smith eventually flipped over and then sat up. The crowd began a quiet golf clap which built into a dull roar as Smith was helped up off the floor.
He walked off slowly, cringing in pain and did not return to the game, but it sounds like the fall was more of a scare than anything else.
“Thanks everyone for the concerns, I'll be back to my old self in a few days,” Smith posted on his personal Twitter account.
“Never good to fall dead on your butt unless you’re (Jared Sullinger).”
Smith has started in each of Ohio State’s first seven games after missing most of his freshman year with a wrist injury. He is averaging 5.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season.
He has also been good for about one big dunk per game, and has given the Buckeyes a boost at the defensive end. He is second on the team in steals behind Aaron Craft and even asked coach Matta for the responsibility of checking star freshman Austin Rivers Tuesday night.
The Buckeyes have the day off today and their next game is Saturday, Dec. 3 against the Texas-Pan American Broncs. They will then have a week to prepare for their trip to Kansas, where they face the No. 14-ranked Jayhawks on Dec. 10.
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