Sullinger Feeling “OK” After Hard Fall
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Statistically, Jared Sullinger is having a fine sophomore campaign at Ohio State.
His body might respectfully disagree.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The Buckeyes’ big man suffered another setback Tuesday night when all 265 pounds came crashing hard to the floor at Value City Arena during Ohio State’s 87-84 win over Purdue.
Sullinger tallied 18 points and six rebounds in the win, but missed the last 6:50 of the game after hobbling to the bench with another lower body injury.
“I just came down and it felt a little funny,” Sullinger said after the game.
“I wasn’t going to risk injuring myself even more.”
That second part has, in many ways, been the underlying theme of Sullinger’s season. First with the back injury, then the foot problem at South Carolina and now what appears to be a left hip injury.
At least that is what Sullinger said as he limped towards the locker room with a bag of ice secured around his left hip.
“We’ll find out what happened,” he said.
“I’ll be good this Saturday.”
The Buckeyes host No. 12 Michigan State Saturday in a showdown of the Big Ten’s top two teams. The Spartans are coming off a 64-54 win over Michigan in East Lansing, and they are one of the most physical teams in the conference.
Tom Izzo’s team is tops in the Big Ten in rebounding and 11th in the country at nearly 40 rebounds per game. The Buckeyes are not far behind at 37 rebounds per contest, but they will need a healthy Sullinger against a Spartan frontcourt that features Derrick Nix, Adreian Payne and Draymond Green, who had 14 and 16 against the Wolverines after spraining his left knee against Illinois.
Matta is hoping his own star forward will make a similar return to the lineup Saturday night in Columbus.
“I think (he is) good,” Matta said.
“I honestly haven’t had a chance (to check), but we’ll get him ready to go…I hope.”
Hope is all Matta really has at this point. Sullinger is the reigning National Freshman of the Year and one of the premier players in the conference. He is averaging 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game this season while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
That is up from 54 percent last season, and he also upped his free throw percentage from just over 70 percent last year to 76 percent as a sophomore.
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