Walter Offutt is running out of wheels.
The 6-2 senior combo guard from Indianapolis Warren Central suffered a devastating knee injury Thursday night, ending his season for good. The torn ACL to his right knee was almost exactly like the one the future Ohio State guard suffered on his left leg over two years ago.
“I’m just trying to hang in there the best I can and look at all the positives,” Offutt told BuckeyeSports.com Saturday afternoon, trying to remain level-headed. “I’m still going to participate with my high school team and cheer them on. I’m going to continue to support them and get ready for Ohio State.”
Offutt was playing in his team’s first game, a home contest on Thursday, when the injury happened. Though Offutt knew he had injured himself, he thought it was a hyper-extension after consulting the team’s trainer.
It wasn’t until Offutt went to a doctor on Friday, however, did he learn the truth.
“As soon as I went to the doctor, he told me immediately it was an ACL tear,” Offutt added.
While Offutt, who averaged 17.6 points per game as a junior in his first full healthy season back from his previous injury was optimistic until the consultation, his mother Darlene knew better.
“There was just something about the look on his face that made me think it was serious,” she said. “It was a concern but I don’t think he knew it was that serious.”
Offutt has planned for surgery during Christmas break. The procedure will require an overnight stay at the hospital following the actual surgery – then an entire week of bed rest.
According to Offutt’s doctor, this injury will nearly mirror the last. The last timetable had Offutt back on the court in limited capacity about 2-3 months after surgery.
“It’s going to take me a year to get all the way back,” Offutt added. “But if this were ever going to happen, I suppose now would be the time.”
As planned, Offutt will still enroll at Ohio State for summer quarter beginning in mid-June. Offutt said he will be fully functional in time for practice to start in October, and might be playing full-go sometime during the summer.
He said OSU head coach Thad Matta was the first person he called upon learning of the injury status.
“He (Matta) was disappointed for me,” Offutt recalled of the conversation. “He said it wasn’t good to hear, but that he backs me 100 percent and that he’s been there for me since day one and I’ve been there for him since day one.”
Ohio State assistant coach John Groce, who spoke with Darlene, is in town for Saturday night’s Warren Central game. He was scheduled to watch Offutt play, but since that will not happen, Groce instead will be going out to eat with Walter Sunday to catch up.
It’s Offutt’s Ohio State career that he has left to look forward to with a disappointing finish to his high school career.
“Well, it’s not like I’m dying or anything,” Offutt said. “I’m still alive and this isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’ll be back. I’m a fighter and I’ll fight this.
“I’ll just be that much more motivated to prove people wrong again and battle back one more time,” he added.
Though Darlene and Walter were both distraught about missing out on any possible state championship and a possible prestigious Indiana Mr. Basketball award, both believe Walter will bounce back better than ever.
“Walter is a fighter; always has been,” she concluded. “He’ll come back strong.”
Offutt was one of Matta’s first verbal commitments, and the second of the 2008 class following B.J. Mullens. Offutt signed a letter-of-intent to play at Ohio State this past November, and is the No. 28-ranked shooting guard in the nation according to ScoutHoops.com. He will arrive in Columbus as a guard that can play both the point guard and shooting guard positions.
Offutt is part of a four-man recruiting class including Mullens, guard Anthony Crater and wing William Buford.