Although Ohio State will have several players back for the College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson, coach Ryan Day said some of the Buckeyes might not be in game shape.
The team played without 22 players, including top receiver Chris Olave and linebacker Baron Browning, in its Big Ten championship victory over Northwestern on Dec. 19. Under conference rules, players exposed to COVID-19 had to quarantine for 21 days. The team feared the players would miss the CFP semifinal if they qualified, however, the Big Ten changed the rule after Ohio State won the conference title game and secured a CFP spot.
Although the rule change allows Olave and others to rejoin the Buckeyes, Day is uncertain how they'll look against Clemson.
"Full strength is a floating target right now," Day said, via ESPN. "Those guys who come off quarantine and isolation, they have a protocol to get back on the field. You don't just play football after not doing anything for nine or 10 days. All those guys we were missing for the last month are working their way back.
"We are getting a lot of guys back, but to say 100%, it's different. The good news is they're working their way back and getting stronger every day."
Despite the boost of players returning to OSU's roster, uncertainty looms around quarterback Justin Fields's thumb after he injured it in the conference title game. He told the media after the game that he thought he sprained his thumb and the injury prohibited him from gripping the ball properly. While Fields and Day haven't revealed additional details about the injury, they both said earlier this week that the signal-caller should be fine by Friday night.
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