Ohio State basketball suffered a tough setback this week.
Head coach Chris Holtmann has announced that C.J. Walker has suffered torn ligaments in his right hand and he will not be available for at least Saturday's game against Rutgers.
According to Adam Jardy at The Columbus Dispatch, Walker first injured his thumb in the team's first intrasquad scrimmage at the beginning of the year (back in mid-November) and he's been dealing with it ever since.
“CJ has battled this hand injury since our first preseason scrimmage and as the pain and discomfort has increased it became clear to him and our medical staff that he needed to rest and rehab in hopes his hand will heal,” head coach Chris Holtmann said in a statement. “His leadership and toughness in battling this through 11 games has been really impressive. Obviously he is very important to our team but I’m most disappointed for CJ because I know how much work he put in during the offseason. CJ will closely remain with our team while he rests and rehabs his hand.”
Holtmann told the media that there is no timetable for his return.
The injury to Walker puts the Buckeyes in a tough spot because in addition to being the true heart and soul of the team, Walker leads Ohio State in minutes played and he's far and away the team's best option at point guard. At this point, only Duane Washington Jr. and Bucknell-transfer Jimmy Sotos are the only true guards currently on the roster that have game experience. Depending on how long Walker is out, it may force the debut of mid-year enrollee Meechie Johnson sooner than anticipated (although Holtmann said Johnson is scheduled to begin practicing with the team now anyways).
You may also recall that Johnson elected to enroll early because of the untimely news that Able Porter wouldn't be able to play for the Buckeyes this year because of an undisclosed medical condition. That news came out in early November and left the Buckeyes in a pinch at the point guard spot.
Walker is averaging 8.7 points, 4.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game this year, but his play has come under some scrutiny based on last year's performances. Coach Holtmann indicated a couple times the last two weeks that Walker wasn't 100% healthy, but until today the extent of that injury wasn't really known.
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