Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields: 'I'll be good by Monday' for CFP championship game
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields expects to play in the College Football Playoff championship game Monday against Alabama.
"I'll be good by Monday night," he said in a Zoom call Thursday afternoon.
Fields was injured in the second quarter of Ohio State’s 49-28 victory over Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Sugar Bowl. The quarterback took off on a scramble and as he tried to spin to absorb the contact from Clemson’s James Skalski, the linebacker lowered his helmet and speared Fields in the back.
Skalski was ejected for targeting. Fields missed only one play before returning. Upon his return, he threw a touchdown pass to Chris Olave in the front corner of the end zone for the third of his six touchdown passes. He completed 22 of 28 passes for 385 yards.
After the game, Fields said he had not gotten a diagnosis from the team’s medical staff and that his body was “pretty messed up” but that he wanted to keep playing despite the pain.
He said he and coach Ryan Day discussed which play calls should or shouldn't be used the rest of the game. But Fields said he felt healthy enough to play.
"If I can't protect myself then I don't need to be out on the field, so I thought personally that I was able to go out there and protect myself if something bad would happen," he said.
Ohio State team doctor Jim Borchers told The Dispatch on Wednesday that the medical staff did not pressure Fields to play after the injury.
"Ultimately, it is 100% the (athlete's) decision," he said. "We never return anybody to play who doesn't want to go back into the game."
Fields said Thursday he was happy with his treatment from the team's medical staff.
"I think what I said after the game was kind of taken out of context," he said. "I just want to make one thing clear: It's that I have my full trust in the trainers here at Ohio State and Dr. Borchers.
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"I wasn't hesitant on taking anything that they would give me, but I was just trying to do whatever I could do to get back on the field. I think those guys handled it the way I would have wanted it to be handled."
On Tuesday, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Fields told him he felt better than he had anticipated when the quarterback awoke the morning after the game.
"I think the day after the game I woke up definitely better than expected, but the days that I didn't expect to wake up kind of hurting were two or three nights after the game," he said.
"I really haven't thought about how this injury is going to affect how I'm going to play. I'm just thinking about getting as much treatment as possible and trying to get my body right so it's 100% to be able to perform at a max level come Monday night."
Day didn't reveal much about Fields' status.
"No real update," Day said on the conference call, citing his policy on not providing daily details about injuries.
Fields has thrown for 1,906 yards and 21 touchdowns with six interceptions this season. He has completed 73.4% of his attempts and also has run for 316 yards and five scores.
Fields came to Ohio State as a transfer from Georgia last year. This week, he won for the second time the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football award given to the Big Ten’s top player.
On Tuesday, Day said he "definitely" expected Fields to play against Alabama.
On the COVID-19 front, Day also had little to update. He said earlier this week that the team continues to deal with expected absences and that it's a day-to-day proposition.
Asked if he expected the game to go on as planned Monday instead of being postponed a week, Day said, "Correct."
"We'll have plenty of players," he later added.