There was some good news for the Ohio State men’s basketball team in the wake of its loss at Iowa on Thursday night.
Following the game, OSU head coach Chris Holtmann confirmed that freshman guard DJ Carton would return to campus on Friday.
Carton has been away from the school and program for more than three weeks as he has tended to his mental health.
“DJ is returning to school,” Holtmann said Thursday night. “The biggest thing for him is we want him to get on a path towards better health. That’s really all our concern right now.”
The exact process for him to get back on the court is still not entirely clear, but his return to campus is clearly a positive development.
“We’re happy he is returning and we’re excited to have him back,” Holtmann said.
With Carton back in Columbus, he will first have to tend to off-court concerns.
“He’s got to get re-acclimated to school,” Holtmann said. “He’s been away for a couple weeks. That’s going to require some stuff. He will meet with our medical personnel. That’s our only concern right now.”
There is no timetable right now for Carton to return to action with the team. Earlier this week, Holtmann said, “there’s a lot that has to happen before that’s even in the conversation” and that “that’s not even been a consideration.”
Holtmann has made only very limited comments about the specifics of Carton’s process to get back in action, due to privacy rules. He provided some insight during his pregame press conference on Wednesday.
“When you leave for medical reasons, there’s a lot that goes into in any way being acclimated back, really even outside of our hands, acclimated back into any type of organized activity,” he said.
“When a player is pulled away for medical reasons, specifically mental health, there are very specific and extended protocols that go into that. And it’s to protect the player, and it’s pretty extensive. So that’s about as much as I can say on that.”
However, Holtmann hinted pretty clearly earlier in the week that it was unlikely that Carton would return to action this spring.
“We’re late in the season, so you can draw your own conclusions on that. It’s late in the year and he’s been away for a while,” Holtmann said.