Those wanting to know exactly when Ohio State men’s basketball star Evan Turner will return to the court are out of luck.
Turner doesn’t even know himself.
Thirteen days after suffering a transverse process fracture on the second and third lumbar vertebra of his spine, Turner spoke to the Columbus media Friday and said that his rehab is going well even if he doesn’t know when he’ll be back on the court.
“I just want to be back to start the Big Ten to help my team out,” he said. “It’s going to be a hard time, especially on the road. I want to be there to help them, but really I don’t know, honestly. My trainer told me to just be patient. The bones are going to heal and everything, but he wants to make sure the muscles are all right and I can get back to playing the way I’ve been playing.”
After two more games against nonconference opposition – including tomorrow’s game with Delaware State in Value City Arena – Ohio State starts the Big Ten schedule at Wisconsin on New Year’s Eve. The Buckeyes stay on the road to play at Michigan on Jan. 3, return home to face Indiana on Jan. 6 and then hit the road for games against Minnesota and Purdue on Jan. 9 and 12, respectively.
Turner said he’d like to be back for the latter two games because this group of Buckeyes has never won in Minneapolis or West Lafayette.
In the meantime, Turner is following the rehab instructions of trainer Vince O’Brien. Recent activities have included stretching, power walking on a treadmill and working on an elliptical machine. Turner, who said he took free throws yesterday, hopes to be able to run soon, though the trainers still do not want him to twist his back.
“I know I’m probably a ways away a little bit, but if I needed to play tomorrow I would throw some Ben Gay on my back and go out there, to tell you the truth,” said Turner, who is wearing a soft back brace. “But right now I want to just take my time and not rush things so I don’t have a chance of hurting myself in the future. Most definitely I think I’m progressing better every single day.”
When asked if he knew what progress would have to be made in order for him to return, Turner said he did not know for sure.
“My game consists of a lot of maneuvering and a lot of spinning and a lot of stuff to get loose, and (we’re) just making sure that my back muscles are ready to go so I don’t have stress fractures or do anything further,” he said. “If I was just like a stand-still shooter or something like that, maybe they wouldn’t be so worried about it.”
Turner, a slasher who became the team’s point guard this season, was averaging 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and 5.9 rebounds in his eight games while shooting 60.8 percent from the floor.