I've been so impressed by the juggling act that Chris Holtmann and his staff have been doing now for a few weeks, trying to keep this team moving in a positive direction without a true point guard on the floor.
As the Buckeyes prepare for arguably their toughest test of the season to date against No. 10 Wisconsin on Saturday, there's a chance they may get a break.
According to CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein (who spoke with Holtmann), senior point guard C.J. Walker is going to try to play on Saturday after he's missed the last four games. Holtmann told Rothstein that Walker's playing time will be "all based on pain tolerance as he moves forward."
Walker hasn't seen the floor for Ohio State since January 3 when they lost at Minnesota in their most disappointing performance of the season. While Walker didn't play well that night, he's been dealing with torn ligaments in his hand since he injured himself during a preseason scrimmage. Holtmann announced on January 7 that the team would shut down Walker until he felt better because he couldn't play through the pain any longer.
“C.J. 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,” Holtmann said at the time of the announcement.
Walker's number have been down this season, and even though the injury occurred to his non-shooting hand, it's easy to understand why he hasn't been as productive. In the mean time, Walker's been on the bench acting as a coach as he's tried to help his teammates navigate challenging waters. His replacement, Jimmy Sotos, went out with an injury one game after Walker was shut down.
"He's a great teammate. He led from the front of the bench in our Rutgers game. He continues to lead in practice," Holtmann said a few weeks ago about Walker's leadership. "He's anxious to get back. I just don't know right now how that thing is going to heal and the timeframe on it. We've heard a number of different timeframes and at this point, we just don't know. I don't think he'll come back until he feels comfortable that it's healthy enough to, and I completely understand that that, but he's anxious to come back. He knows we need him."
With Walker and Sotos both out, Duane Washington, Justice Sueing and Meechie Johnson have rotated running the point. But the Buckeyes have played a lot of what seems like positionless basketball this year, and to Holtmann's credit, it's largely worked.
That said, I'm sure everyone wants to see a healthy Walker back on the floor as soon as possible.
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