Ohio State could regain the services of junior forward Kyle Young for the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, but freshmen D.J. Carton and Alonzo Gaffney still remain away from the team, coach Chris Holtmann said Wednesday.
Young, who has started 25 games this season, suffered a right ankle sprain during the first half of a 79-72 home win against Maryland on Feb. 23. It kept him out of the final four games of the regular season, and Holtmann said he is day-to-day with the injury.
“I say that with all honesty and no gamesmanship whatsoever,” Holtmann said. “We have to see more in practice. We may not have a great feel until we get into game stuff. He’s not done live action at all, in what has now been since the Maryland game. Not done live practice action.
“Some of it, we’ll have to get a little bit of a gauge, if he plays, during the game.”
Since the injury, Holtmann said Young has been “very limited” with what he has been able to do in practice up until this week.
Young has been wearing a walking boot on his right ankle during games and needed crutches to get around for the first two games after the injury.
“We’ve tried to bring him along and monitor any swelling, soreness, those types of things with our medical staff. We’re also aware that we’re going to play after this tournament, however long we play in this tournament. But if he can play, we’re going to try to play him. We’re not necessarily going to hold him back for the NCAA Tournament, but we’re also mindful there’s more to come.”
Decisions on Young’s status will be made by the team’s medical staff, Holtmann said. The Buckeyes will open the postseason as the No. 7 seed in the Big Ten tournament and face No. 10 seed Purdue at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Carton has been away from the team since he took a leave of absence Jan. 30 to address mental health issues. He is back at Ohio State but not permitted to be around the team until he passes an extensive medical protocol.
In a video story posted to his Instagram page Tuesday, Carton was asked when he will be on the court next. He replied, “Not sure, a lot of stuff goes into it.”
Holtmann said he’s not at a point to definitively say whether Carton will be back this season.
“Obviously we know where the season is going in terms of what’s left of the season,” Holtmann said. “A matter of weeks, right? So, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but I wouldn’t want to definitively say one way or the other right now.”
Gaffney, too, remains part of the team but will not be with the Buckeyes in Indianapolis, Holtmann said. No specific reason has been given for his absence. Gaffney has missed the past four games.