It's been four days since Braxton Miller left the first quarter of Ohio State's showdown with San Diego State with a sprained MCL, and Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer still doesn't know if his star quarterback will be available for the Buckeyes' upcoming matchup with California. And he likely won't until his team takes the field this Saturday.
Meeting with the media to provide an update on the Buckeyes before their trip to the west coast, Meyer said that practice time for Miller this week will be irrelevant as the final decision on his availability won't be made until game time on Saturday. The second-year Ohio State head coach said that Miller went through some of practice on Wednesday, before leaving to receive treatment on his injured knee.
"He came out and got a little bit of work and then he went back in and did a bunch of rehab," Meyer said. "We'll know more tomorrow, but he's going on a trip."
For a player of Miller's style and caliber, an MCL injury can be a costly one.
The junior quarterback led the Buckeyes in rushing in 2012 with 1,271 yards, but would likely be much more immobile with an injured knee or brace hindering his movements. A season ago, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde suffered a similar injury, which caused him to miss two full games.
"It's an MCL so it's a little unstable," Meyer said of Miller's knee. "He's got to get used to that brace."
Nevertheless, Meyer has not yet ruled out the prospects of Miller playing against the Golden Bears. But if he can't, it will be backup quarterback Kenny Guiton getting the first start of his college career.
Meyer has been impressed by the work that Guiton's put in while working with Ohio State's first team this week, but is also aware that he presents a less dynamic skill set than Miller.
"He's a distributor, he's a manager," he said of Guiton, who completed 19 of his 28 pass attempts for 152 yards and two touchdowns in OSU's win over San Diego State. "He's looked pretty good."
While Meyer admitted that it's concerning to be three days away from a game and still unsure of who his starting quarterback will be for it, he's clearly more comfortable with Guiton in the huddle than any of the Buckeyes' other options at quarterback. The two-time national champion head coach said that as of right now, Cardale Jones is OSU's third-string signal-caller, but true freshman J.T. Barrett will also make the trip Berkeley.
"Plan C is a concern," Meyer said.
Meyer also didn't rule out the possibility of starting Guiton on Saturday, before bringing Miller in for relief should he need it. Given the uncertainty of Miller's knee and the Buckeyes heading into Ohio State's first contest against a BCS conference opponent this season, only using Miller in case of emergency would appear to be an ideal situation for all parties involved on the OSU sideline.
In other injury news, Meyer said that Adolphus Washington did not practice on Wednesday, and unlike Miller, it has not been decided if he will travel with his team to California. The Buckeyes' starting strong side defensive end suffered a groin injury in OSU's win over the Aztecs last weekend.