December 06, 2009
Ohio State's basketball hopes may have come crashing to a halt this weekend.
Buckeyes star Evan Turner, a presumptive 2010 All-American and Big Ten player of the year favorite, is out for eight weeks after suffering a transverse process fracture on the second and third lumbar vertebra of his spine yesterday after a breakaway dunk. In layman's terms, he broke his back.
Turner had been averaging 20.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game and had already dropped two triple-doubles on the year. Those stats aren't due to early-season padding against inferior opponents either. Three of Turner's four highest scoring games came against probable NCAA tournament teams North Carolina, California and Florida State. (Although the triple-doubles did come against Alcorn State and Lipscomb.)
The junior guard is slated to miss a majority of Ohio State's road tests. In the next eight weeks the team plays road games at Butler, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia Iowa and Purdue. If the eight week estimate is accurate, Turner would return for the Buckeyes' final eight regular season games.
It's a difficult 15-game stretch of the schedule, but if Turner's Buckeye teammates can keep the team hovering near .500 during his absence, the team should still be able to make the tournament and could make some noise there provided Turner makes a full recovery.