Should Ohio State DE Nick Bosa sit out the rest of the season?

Sam Cooper

Nick Bosa, the star defensive end for No. 4 Ohio State, has been ruled out for Saturday’s trip to No. 9 Penn State. And he will likely be out well beyond that.

At his Monday press conference, Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said that Bosa is “still not ready” to return, and it will be “a few more weeks” before he returns to the field. Meyer added that the team does expect him to return at some point.

But comments from Bosa’s father make it clear that his son will need more than “a few weeks” to be healthy enough to play.

Nick Bosa had surgery last week

Bosa, arguably the best player in college football, suffered what the OSU program has called a “core muscle injury” in the Sept. 16 win over TCU. That injury required surgery, a surgery John Bosa described as “major” to The Athletic:

“Coach Meyer is going to get peppered with these questions and he basically said it’s a few weeks, but it’s worth me at least clarifying that it’s not a few weeks,” John Bosa said. “Nick had major surgery. Now, he had surgery with the best surgeon for the core on the planet (Dr. William C. Meyers in Philadelphia) and it’s 100 percent fixable, which is the beauty of it, but he’s not even getting re-evaluated until November.”

If Bosa won’t even be re-evaluated by a doctor until November, that leads to a much larger question about his Ohio State future.

Should Nick Bosa sit out the rest of the season?

Bosa, a junior, was putting up big numbers in relatively limited action this season for the Buckeyes. In parts of three games (he has had plenty of time on the sidelines with OSU holding large leads), Bosa tallied 14 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. He even returned a fumble for a touchdown against Oregon State.

That hot start comes on the heels of his very productive freshman and sophomore seasons where he combined for 63 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. That production has put him heavily on the radar of NFL scouts, just like his older brother and fellow Ohio State product, Joey, the No. 3 overall selection of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2016.

As Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel wrote earlier this month, Nick, who is expected leave school early for the draft, has the potential to be the No. 1 pick. A stretching routine he picked up last year thanks to his brother has been a big help. NFL scouts have noticed:

The scouts have noticed the difference in Nick Bosa, as he’s shown he’s twitchier than last season. And while scouts are hesitant to hail Nick as better than Joey – he’s an elite NFL player, after all – they have noticed a difference in how he’s prepared. “Nick is looser in the hips and agile as a pass rusher, but Joey is much stronger,” said a veteran NFL scout. “Nick looks much improved compared to last year, as you can see he’s in better shape.”

With that being said, wouldn’t it be a prudent decision for Nick to sit out the rest of the season to avoid injury and put himself in the best possible situation for his NFL future?

Meyer acknowledged it was something he has discussed with the family.

“We’ve already had those discussions a little bit. But that’s down the road when he becomes healthy again,” Meyer said. “You can’t ask for a better family and people. I don’t want to paraphrase John and Cheryl Bosa, but as they said, ‘We trust our children to this program. And we will continue to do so.’ And so those conversations will be had, but absolutely. Not that you treat anybody different than another player. I want to make sure that’s clear, but that’s a real conversation that we’re going to have.”

Meyer said Bosa told him that he wants to return to the field for the Buckeyes this season, but he would not divulge any details of their conversation.

“That’s between me and Nick and the family,” Meyer said.

Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa (97) 29 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks during his time with the Buckeyes. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)
Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa (97) 29 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks during his time with the Buckeyes. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)

What is a timetable for Bosa’s possible return?

If Bosa, who is rehabbing in Philadelphia where he had surgery, won’t even be re-evaluated until November, that means he won’t play against Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota and Purdue at a minimum. The first game of November is against Nebraska (Nov. 3) before the Buckeyes round out the regular season against Michigan State (Nov. 10), Maryland (Nov. 17) and Michigan (Nov. 24).

John Bosa said six-to-eight weeks is a more realistic timetable. From The Athletic:

“You’re not going to be cleared in a month. He had major surgery on both sides — his left side had significant damage and he had a little on the right side. The good news is that this is 100 percent fixable, so if you rehab it properly, you’re absolutely 100 percent. That’s great news. But this doesn’t heal in four weeks. This is a six-to-eight (week) proposition when you’re talking about normal people. You can’t speculate past when he goes and gets re-evaluated.”

Based on that and the date of the surgery — in the days following the TCU game — Bosa could possibly be ready for the last few games of the regular season and, if Ohio State is still in the College Football Playoff picture, beyond.

Like Meyer said, Nick wants to play. He certainly wants to help his team get back to the College Football Playoff. But should he risk getting re-injured ahead of his preparation for the NFL? That’s a discussion the family will likely have to have in the coming weeks.

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