Ohio State's Musa Jallow to miss Nebraska game due to COVID-19 contact tracing

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Musa Jallow (2) is fouled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Jacob Young (42) during the second half of Wednesday's NCAA Division I basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Oh. on December 23, 2020.

No. 25 Ohio State will be without Musa Jallow for at least Wednesday’s game with Nebraska due to COVID-19 contact tracing, coach Chris Holtmann said Tuesday.

Holtmann declined to say exactly when the Buckeyes learned they would be without the junior wing and said that while he’s not sure how long he will be unavailable, it is not anticipated to be a long-term situation for Jallow. He played 22 minutes in Saturday's 71-70 loss at Northwestern.

“Unfortunately that’s a young man that obviously has played really well for us,” Holtmann said. You don’t like any of your guys to miss games, but you understand why it’s important with today’s climate and contact tracing. I certainly don’t question that.”

Jallow is the first Ohio State player to miss any time due to the virus. The Buckeyes had a non-conference game against Alabama A&M scheduled for December 5 canceled due to at least one positive test among the Bulldogs upon their arrival in Columbus.

It’s the latest in a series of unfortunate setbacks for Jallow, who missed all of last season and took a medical redshirt after undergoing two surgeries on his right ankle. He played in this year’s season opener but missed the next two games with some soreness in his right Achilles. He then returned to the lineup and was critical in a 90-85 road win against Notre Dame on December 8.

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Jallow started the next game against Purdue and has played at least 22 minutes in each of Ohio State’s next six games. He is averaging 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 22.4 minutes per game and has been heavily relied upon as a defensive asset for his athleticism and versatility.

“You don’t want any young man to miss games, not only for themselves but for the team and certainly how he’s played,” Holtmann said. “It’s unfortunate but it’s part of it and we’ll have to adjust and move forward and guys will need to be ready to step up.”

The obvious hope is that nobody else on the team is forced to sit out alongside Jallow. That remains a possibility.

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“It’s day-to-day in this type of situation and we’ll see what tomorrow looks like for the availability of our entire team,” Holtmann said. “That could change as well. It’s a really day-by-day type of situation.”

His absence likely means more minutes for a trio of players. Harvard graduate transfer Seth Towns has seen increased minutes in each of the last three games in his return from injury, while junior Justin Ahrens and freshman Gene Brown were also mentioned by Holtmann as players in line for bigger roles in Jallow’s absence.