Ohio State gets star Turner back in time to play Gophers

Marco LaNave

Less than five weeks ago, Ohio State star Evan Turner broke two bones in his back on a dunk attempt against Eastern Michigan, dealing a blow to a Buckeyes team that looked to be a contender for the Big Ten title.

That day, the Buckeyes’ athletic trainer said the junior guard Turner, a unanimous All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media last season, was expected to miss eight weeks, a period that would have ended the weekend of Minnesota’s visit to Ohio State on Jan. 31.

Instead, the Gophers (2-1 Big Ten, 11-4 overall) will face Turner when the Buckeyes (1-2, 11-4) visit Williams Arena on Saturday. 

Turner returned to play in Ohio State’s Big Ten home opener against Indiana on Wednesday night and had 8 points, four rebounds and a team-high five assists in 20 minutes of the Buckeyes’ 79-54 victory.  Turner said after the game that the fractures of two vertebrae were supposed to take four to six weeks to heal, and that the eight-week prognosis was announced so that the media "wouldn’t be wondering" how soon he would return.

The Buckeyes were 3-3 in the six games that Turner missed including losses to then-No. 22 Butler on Dec. 12 and road losses against then-No. 23 Wisconsin and Michigan to start Big Ten play.  Ohio State, ranked 15th in the country at the time of Turner’s injury, fell out of the top 25 for the first time this season on Monday.