SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Ryan Day’s update Friday on the health of quarterback Justin Fields consisted of only three words.
"He’s doing great," the Ohio State coach said during his Fiesta Bowl eve news conference with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney.
Thursday during media day, Fields declined to answer questions about his sprained knee after saying on Tuesday it was 80% to 85% healthy. The sophomore’s condition has been a major issue as the Buckeyes get set to play a College Football Playoff semifinal in a battle of undefeated teams.
Fields has practiced this week wearing a bulky offensive lineman’s brace, but has said he intends to play in a lighter one that will give him more mobility.
Fields is the only major injury issue for Ohio State. The team released its status report Friday and nobody was listed as a game-time decision. The eight players listed as unavailable are all players who’ve missed extended time this season and were not expected back.
"I think at this time of the year, coming off of those three games at the end of the year, it was great to have a little bit of a break to catch our breath," Day said, referring to the Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin games. "But it's great to have everybody healthy, and that means a lot late in the season."
Smaller cast for Arnette
Damon Arnette has played most of the season with a thick cast on his right hand and arm to protect a broken wrist suffered in training camp.
The senior cornerback said he will use a smaller, less restrictive one Saturday.
Except for the Rutgers game last month, the cast hasn’t kept the senior cornerback out of the lineup. Arnette has played well despite the injury, but it has limited him.
"It was challenging, but I'm always up for it," Arnette said.
He said the new cast is smaller and thinner and will allow him to have more movement with his thumb and palm.
"It'll make a big difference," Arnette said.
The matchup of Ohio State’s defensive backs against Clemson’s rangy wide receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross is considered a pivotal one.