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Ohio State to lose Jimmy Sotos to season-ending shoulder surgery

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State guard Jimmy Sotos dives for a loose ball under Rutgers guard Paul Mulcahy (4) during a game on Jan. 9. Sotos was injured on the play.

Ohio State guard Jimmy Sotos will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a separated right shoulder, coach Chris Holtmann said Wednesday afternoon.

Sotos will undergo the surgery soon, Holtmann said, and will face a six-month recovery. The No. 7 Buckeyes will play at No. 8 Iowa on Thursday night.

“We thought he might be able to come back and play, but right now it’s just not going to be possible,” Holtmann said. “I think he wanted to try to give it a go, but he’s just not going to be able to do it.”

A transfer from Bucknell, Sotos joined the Buckeyes during the spring and was ticketed to sit out the season until the Buckeyes applied for a waiver for immediate eligibility once projected backup Abel Porter was diagnosed with a career-ending heart condition. His first waiver was denied, but a second was approved, and he opened the season as a backup to fifth-year senior CJ Walker.

Playing time was sporadic, but when Walker was shut down with torn ligaments in his right hand, Sotos stepped in and started in a road game against Rutgers on Jan. 9. In a season-high 28 minutes, he had a season-high six points and four assists but injured his right shoulder while diving for a loose ball with about four minutes to play. He was immediately escorted to the locker room and was seen sharing an emotional exchange with Holtmann after the Buckeyes finished off the 79-68 game.

"I’m disappointed for him, disappointed for our team, but it’s part of what happens," Holtmann said. "He gave us great contributions. I know he’s super excited to get back. Several of our conversations generated around that. He’ll still be around our team, just like Abel Porter is right now. Jimmy will remain around our team and get himself ready for next year."

In 12 games including two starts, Sotos averaged 1.7 points and 0.8 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per game.

"He was really disappointed," Holtmann said. "He was emotional (after the Rutgers game). We had a moment there. I think he knew at that point it could be over, it's just we were trying to exhaust every option to continue the season.

With Walker and then Sotos sidelined, the Buckeyes have adapted by moving forward Justice Sueing to the point, allowing him to share reps alongside junior Duane Washington Jr. and freshman Meechie Johnson Jr., who just joined the team in December. Walker has since returned to the lineup and come off the bench for the last three games, and that will be the rotation for the duration of the season.

“Our turnovers have went up a bit in league play and I think that’s a by-product of us trying to figure some things out, and some of that’s just been our decision-making,” Holtmann said. “We’ve got to get better with that. It’s been good to have CJ back. All in all, I feel comfortable with our rotation of guards when you include Duane, Meechie, CJ, Justice in that primary ball-handling group.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy