Ohio State men's basketball | The story behind Andre Wesson's knocked-out teeth

Adam Jardy
Ohio State’s Andre Wesson lost two teeth and cracked a third after a nasty fall during the game against Bucknell on Saturday. Athletic trainer Jeff Deits, left, and team physician Dr. Grant Jones check on Wesson after the fall. [Samantha Madar]

There was more to Andre Wesson losing two teeth and cracking a third during Saturday’s game than the gruesome details.

Barely 2½ minutes into the second half of what would become a 73-71 win for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, Wesson fully extended his body as he dove after a loose ball near midcourt. As a Bucknell player also went after the ball, his legs tangled with Wesson’s, and as gravity pulled him down his elbow drove the Buckeye mouth-first onto the hardwood.

It was nasty. Wesson was immediately in obvious pain, which made it all the more impressive when he returned to the game at the 14:24 mark while wearing a protective mouthguard.

“When he came back we just knew that he put himself aside,” senior guard C.J. Jackson said Monday. “He’s always put the team first. When you have that kind of teammate, it makes things that much more enjoyable to play for. He made the game more important than himself. Now it’s fun to joke around with him.”

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Once the game ended, Wesson was quickly sent to the dentist for some work. The team’s official game notes for Tuesday’s home game against Youngstown State describe the injury as two missing teeth and one cracked tooth.

He will play against the Penguins, coach Chris Holtmann said, but will require more dental work Wednesday. That’s an off day for the Buckeyes, who will practice Thursday and start preparing for Saturday’s CBSSports Classic game against UCLA at Chicago’s United Center.

“Our medical staff’s been on top of that, but his head, neck, all that stuff, the stuff you get really concerned about has all checked out fine,” Holtmann said. “It could affect him on Thursday. We’ll see if it has any effect leading into the weekend.”

Missing teeth or not, Wesson set a career high with nine rebounds against the Bison. He was in the game for 28:23, the third-most minutes of anyone on the Ohio State roster, and was one of the five defenders on the court when Bucknell got the ball with a chance for the win with 14 seconds left.

He is averaging 7.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists while playing 26.6 minutes per game, tied for third-most on the team.

“He as a player adds value in a lot of different ways,” Holtmann said. “When he’s playing well, he’s a guy who can impact the game with his rebounds, his ball handling, certainly his defensive versatility, his blocks and his awareness of how to play. We’ve got to continue to get consistency from him shooting the ball, and I think that’ll happen. We want him to continue to attack some mismatches inside and rebound the ball better, but we love coaching him.”

As for the particulars, Holtmann said after the game he knew at least one of the lost teeth was a complete, full tooth because he stepped on it when he rushed to the court to check on Wesson. Although he’s a self-described germophobe, Holtmann said he picked it up and handed it over to the training staff. Younger brother Kaleb Wesson was dismissive as only a sibling can be, describing the injury as no big deal and saying, “Ain’t nothing wrong with him.”

Monday, freshman Justin Ahrens said, “I pointed them out (the teeth) but I couldn’t really grab them.” Added Jackson, “They were kind of spread out (across the court).

“When he first was on the ground I was just like, ‘He must have just got hit,’ ” Jackson said. “My first thought was, ‘Get up.’ Then I walked over there and saw these little things on the ground and I was like, ‘OK, he might actually be hurt.’ ”

It made the eventual comeback all the more impressive.

“He puts the team before himself, and so (he’s) that kind of teammate, and then he’s obviously a talented player,” Jackson said. “Those kinds of guys are easy to play with and you want to play for them how he plays for us.”


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