Kyle Young is dealing with what Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann described on his radio show Monday as a "pretty significant" ankle sprain suffered in Sunday’s win against No. 7 Maryland.
Immediately after the game, Holtmann said he had been told Young was dealing with a high-ankle sprain. Monday afternoon, the coach said there was no new update on his condition.
With Ohio State and Maryland tied at 27, Young pulled down an offensive rebound of a CJ Walker three-point miss but fell to the court when his right foot landed on the foot of a Maryland player with 4:36 remaining in the first half.
"Last night, I think many people saw it was a pretty significant ankle sprain," Holtmann said on his radio show. "Gruesome when you look at it. There was a picture circulating among our players and staff showing his ankle basically touching his floor, it was such a significant turn. He’s got a really high pain threshold, but I just feel awful for the kid because it’s been one thing after another."
When asked after the game what his immediate reaction was when Young went down, Holtmann said, "Is it the leg? That was my immediate reaction. Is it the stress reaction?"
"Is it the leg? That was my immediate reaction," Holtmann said after the game when asked for his immediate reaction when Young went down. "Is it the stress reaction?"
It’s the latest in what has been a trying two seasons for Young. As a sophomore, Young missed four games with a stress fracture in his lower right leg. He returned and played 25 minutes in a home win against Penn State on Feb. 7, 2019, but he would spend the remainder of the season being mostly held out of practice in order to lessen the demands on his leg.
Fully healed, Young held down a starting spot from the opening tip against Cincinnati and established himself as one of Holtmann’s most indispensable players thanks to his high motor and unselfish play. When he got sick shortly before the Buckeyes took the court against West Virginia inside Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the team’s medical staff thought Young had come down with the flu.
When he got further sick after the game, one in which he pulled down 11 rebounds in a physical loss to the Mountaineers, Young was found to need appendix surgery. He underwent the procedure that night, Dec. 29, and missed Ohio State’s next two games before returning and playing 22 minutes in a road loss to Indiana on Jan. 11.
While regaining his fitness following that procedure, Young has again started to have his minutes restricted in practice as the medical staff has kept an eye on his right leg. He has worn black medical tape along both legs in recent games and has worn a walking boot when not with the team, and he rolled the same ankle a few games ago but had not missed any games as a result.
Holtmann said Young did not practice between the Iowa and Maryland games because he was dealing with swelling in his ankle because of the boot he’s been wearing while not practicing. The boot has changed Young’s gait a little bit, too, Holtmann said.
"He has not really practiced for us consistently in about a month and a half," Holtmann said. "He has had moments where it’s bothered him. Overall he’s been really good. He’s a really important part of our team. We’ll see what that means for Thursday’s game."
In 25 games, all starts, Young has averaged 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. Both totals are career highs.
Without Young, Holtmann went with a six-man rotation for the second half of Sunday’s win. After the game, he said freshman E.J. Liddell figures to have to shoulder a heavier load should Young be unavailable.
"I thought E.J. Liddell was critical in the second half with offensive rebounding against the zone, and then he challenged a couple of their three attempts with a couple of their guys," Holtmann said. "E.J. will have to be that for us. I thought his minutes were critical for us, especially against their zone."
Liddell tied senior Andre Wesson with a team-high three offensive rebounds against the Terrapins, all of which came during his 6:37 of playing time during the second half. One game after scoring a career-high 17 points in Thursday’s loss at Iowa, Liddell had two points against Maryland.