Fifth-year senior forwards Justice Sueing and Kyle Young did not play in Ohio State’s exhibition win over Indianapolis earlier this month, but head coach Chris Holtmann said they could both be available for tomorrow night’s season opener against Akron (6 p.m. on ESPN2).
“We expect Justice to be available as long as his practice today goes well,” Holtmann said during his press conference on Monday afternoon. “Kyle will be a game-time decision. We need to see more progression from him. There’s more doubt right now on Kyle’s availability than Justice’s.”
A lower leg injury kept Sueing out of the game against the Greyhounds, while Young was sidelined by what Holtmann described as a vestibular dysfunction, which causes vertigo, nausea and other balance issues.
“He’s been able to get up and down (the court) a little bit and go through some non-contact stuff,” Holtmann said of Young. “I think he feels really good about how he’s progressing, and so do we. I know we would all like for it to happen a little quicker, but he is clearly making progress.”
Holtmann said neither player will be under a minutes restriction against the Zips, but did note their level of conditioning might keep them from contributing at a high level on Tuesday night.
“We’re not going to see the real Justice right away,” Holtmann said. “It’s probably unfair to just expect that from him. He’s had too many times where he just hasn’t been able to practice like he needs to. I think he’ll get there eventually, but he needs to see some game action.”
Ohio State will also be without sixth-year senior forward Seth Towns early on this season, as he continues to rehab from offseason back surgery. The Buckeyes are hopeful he’ll return in mid-December, which coincides with the beginning of Big Ten play.
“I really love the potential of this group when healthy,” Holtmann said. “I think we have a lot of guys that can add a lot of things, and a quality and depth to us when we’re completely healthy. We’re not there at this point.”
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