Braxton Miller Brushes Off Neck Injury
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller isn’t sure exactly what happened.
Photo by Jim Davidson
He has seen the replay and he knows it must have scared the fans, not to mention those closest to him, but Ohio State sophomore quarterback brushed off any questions about lingering issues from Saturday’s win over Purdue.
“I’m good,” Miller said with a smile after practice on Wednesday evening.
“That was the first time something had happened like that. I was a nervous at first and I went to the hospital, but everything came out good. I’m blessed. I’m good.”
Miller, who seems to have taken exception to the tackle by Purdue corner Josh Johnson, calling it a ‘horsecollar’ on Wednesday, wasn’t sure exactly what caused him to tense up and panic after he was slammed hard to the turf.
He felt a little dizzy and was disoriented about the situation when trainers helped him off the field and onto a cart that would eventually take him away to the OSU locker room. He passed all the tests at the OSU Medical Center, but it was a tense couple of hours for the Heisman Trophy candidate.
“That's one of them type hits you clench your eyes, but I'm good,” Miller said.
So are the Buckeyes, who expect to have their star quarterback on the field this Saturday for a key Leaders Divisional rivalry game at Penn State.
“Number five is doing good,” Meyer said right out of the gates during his post-practice press conference on Wednesday..
“He practiced yesterday and today. Today, he was much better. He’s ready to go.”
Teammate Chris Fields, the receiver who caught the eventual game-tying touchdown while Miller was at the hospital, said his starting quarterback was moving around a little slower on Tuesday.
Even Miller admitted his neck was still pretty sore after practice Wednesday, but he’s getting daily treatment and has no plans of missing the game on Saturday, and a chance for the Buckeyes to start the year 9-0.
“He’s a competitive guy and he’s very resilient,” Meyer said of Miller, who is just 41 yards shy of 1,000 on the ground this season.
“A lot of it was just emotional like, ‘What was that?’ He’s had ankles before, but that was a whiplash type injury. I am proud of the way he has responded. That was a unique injury.”
Meyer plans to have backup quarterback Kenny Guiton ready to play on Saturday. Guiton, of course, came on in the fourth quarter and led the Buckeyes to victory after Miller left with Ohio State trailing 20-14 late in the third quarter.
Miller was trying to get an update on the game from his nurse on Saturday, but she was too busy making sure he didn’t have a concussion or serious neck injury. He had no doubts, however, that Guiton would finish the job.
“When we get in the red zone, it is lights out,” Miller said of the situations where Guiton has had to close out drives for Ohio State in the past.
“It is automatic that we score. I had all the faith in the guys and I’m glad we pulled it out.”
Miller still hasn’t taken any live contact since the injury on Saturday, and the first time he gets hit likely will not come until he’s inside Beaver Stadium running from a pack of Nittany Lions on Saturday evening.
There is no telling how Miller’s neck will respond to a crushing hit from PSU linebacker Michael Mauti or anyone else on their defense, but Meyer isn’t worried about his quarterbacks’ durability or toughness coming off the injury.
“Competitors are competitors and they go as hard as they can,” he said.
“Braxton Miller is a competitive guy. Competitors fight through adversity.”
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