Chris Holtmann will rejoin Ohio State on Thursday in advance of Wisconsin game

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

He hasn’t yet physically been back with his team, but Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann will reunite with the Buckeyes on Thursday at Wisconsin and coach that night’s game.

It marks a return to normalcy and caps an unusual week that saw Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon miss Sunday’s home win against Northwestern after testing positive for COVID-19 one day prior to the game.

“I’ll be able to return to the team (Thursday) morning,” Holtmann said during a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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The Buckeyes will play at the Kohl Center later that day in a 7 p.m. Eastern game. It will be one week removed from Holtmann’s last game, a Jan. 6 loss at Indiana. The following day, Holtmann said he started to show some COVID-19 symptoms and took a test after that day’s practice that came back negative.

Saturday morning, Holtmann said he woke up with a fever, tested positive and immediately began to quarantine. From home, he was able to collaborate with his staff and put together practice plans remotely. A PCR test confirmed his diagnosis and ensured that he would not be on the sidelines against the Wildcats on Sunday evening.

Pedon, who was on the same timetable and exhibited symptoms at the same time as Holtmann, will also join the team Thursday morning in time for shootaround. In their absences, assistant coach Jake Diebler served as acting head coach with Tony Skinn and special assistant to the head coach Mike Netti bumping up to an assistant role for the game.

Since Saturday, the staff has remained connected virtually and Holtmann has still been able to conduct meetings and develop game plans for Wisconsin.

“You’re still involved in the day-to-day leading up to tip,” Holtmann said of the Northwestern game. “Met with the team virtually before. Did our normal personnel reminders with the team. I thought Jake and Ryan and Tony and the support staff did a tremendous job for sure.”

Every member of the Ohio State program has received two doses of the vaccine, but the Buckeyes had to shut down in mid-December for what would be a 22-day layoff in between games that saw three game cancellations. More than half the roster tested positive during that time, but Holtmann has said everyone presented mild symptoms, if any.

That was the case for him as well.

“It did not hit me (hard),” he said. “I did have a slight fever. Now I had just recently gotten my booster. I know the booster’s affected some people. I’ve had a little bit trouble sleeping, but I have trouble sleeping in-season anyway. It did not affect me all that much.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy