Ohio State defensive end Jonathan Cooper out for Big Ten opener

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Jonathon Cooper (18) jokes around with teammate Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Austin Mack (11) following the Buckeyes 42-0 victory against the Cincinnati Bearcats during a NCAA Division I football game on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ohio State will remain without defensive end Jonathon Cooper when it opens its Big Ten schedule against Indiana on Saturday.

Cooper, a senior who is one of the team’s seven captains, missed the first two games with an undisclosed injury, but had seemed to make progress toward a return in the last week.

Reporters observed Cooper leaving practice Wednesday while in uniform, including a helmet and shoulder pads, and he had not yet been ruled out by Coach Ryan Day on Thursday.

On the Buckeyes’ status update released Friday morning, Cooper was listed as unavailable.

Other prominent players who remain sidelined include senior wide receiver C.J. Saunders, one of the other captains, and sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent.

Saunders also appeared to be making progress in his recovery from an apparent leg or knee injury. While his left leg was wrapped and he was using a crutch during the season opener versus Florida Atlantic, he was walking without assistance on the sideline during the second game against Cincinnati.

Vincent was seen during the last game with his arm in a sling.

Backup safety Jahsen Wint is also out this week.

The status report included one bit of good news for the Buckeyes.

Senior linebacker Justin Hilliard has returned from an Achilles injury suffered during spring practice.

Hilliard was listed as the backup for junior Brendon White at strong safety/linebacker, which is the team's so-called "bullet position." It was a quick recovery for Hilliard, who had been hopeful for a return for the start of the season when he spoke with reporters in the summer (