Immediately after Ohio State's victory against Eastern Michigan, head coach Thad Matta said he thought injured junior guard Evan Turner would be fine.
Those hopes took a turn about two hours after the game concluded, as the Buckeyes have issued a press release stating that Turner will miss the next eight weeks with a transverse process fracture on the second and third lumbar vertebra of his spine.
The team's leading scorer and rebounder at 20.6 and 12.9 per game, respectively, Turner entered the year as a candidate for All-America honors.
"My primary concern right now is Evan's long-term health and well-being," Matta said in a statement. "Evan was to this point in the season the best player in college basketball. We have been through tough situations before and our guys will regroup and prepare for the rest of our season starting with Butler next week in Indianapolis."
He was injured at the 13:27 mark of the first half against the Eagles. Turner was fouled by EMU's Antonio Green as he attempted to throw down a two-handed dunk. He then fell about seven feet and landed flat on his back.
After rolling around in pain for a few moments, he was helped off the court and gingerly walked in the direction of the team's locker room.
He was immediately taken to the OSU Medical Center, where initial X-rays were negative. After the game, Matta said Turner would undergo a CT scan to see if there were any internal injuries but that he expected Turner to be fine.
Turner was released from the hospital, and he briefly spoke with a few reporters leaving the arena. Looking slightly dazed, Turner said he was going to be fine. Junior guard Jon Diebler said the same thing as he was returning to the arena as well.
In his place, senior guard P.J. Hill contributed a career-high 18 minutes. He served as the understudy to Jeremie Simmons at the point last season before taking the starting role down the stretch. This season, Matta switched Turner to the point and moved Simmons off the ball.
Matta said he expected Simmons to have to take some reps at the point guard spot should Turner not be able to immediately return to practice. Now it appears a move back to the spot he struggled in last season will be in the cards for the former junior college player.
EMU head coach Charles Ramsey said he was impressed with how the Buckeyes played without Turner.
"The other kids really stepped up after Turner went down," he said. "They really picked things up a notch once he left and they were playing like he never even left."
Now they will have to do so for the next two months. A return exactly two months from the injury would mean Turner would be available for his team's home contest Jan. 31 against Minnesota. That would mean a loss of 13 games including non-conference road contests against Butler and West Virginia, conference games at Michigan, Minnesota and Purdue and home games against Wisconsin and Northwestern, among others.
After Turner was announced as being all right prior to post-game interviews, junior guard Jon Diebler - Turner's roommate - said he was relieved by the news.
"That’s a big relief," he said at the time. "It was pretty ugly watching him on the floor. It didn’t look good. Take the rest of the day off and we have tomorrow off. Get him rested. He has time to relax and get healthy."
The Buckeyes return to action Dec. 12 on the road against No. 23 Butler.
Stay with BuckeyeSports.com as we continue to track this story.