Ohio State is expected to get its starting point guard back for a top-10 road matchup.
CJ Walker will “try” to play in the 15th-ranked Buckeyes' game against No. 10 Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday, Eleven Warriors confirmed. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports first reported the Walker news.
He missed four straight games after getting shut down on Jan. 7 to deal with torn ligaments in his right hand. The past four games, he was a presence on the bench, wearing a bulky white brace on his hand.
"These are the things that players don't get much credit for, but he's like a coach on the sidelines," Seth Towns said of Walker after Ohio State beat Illinois. "He's still finding ways to contribute to this team."
The team's vocal leader had been dealing with the hand injury since he originally suffered it during the first intrasquad scrimmage a couple of months ago, yet he did not disclose it publicly. Chris Holtmann referenced it several times, though, and it got to the point where the head coach said it was "increasingly more uncomfortable for him" and began to "affect his play." Thus, they took him through "a battery of tests" and eventually made what Holtmann described as "kind of a collective decision" to sit him out indefinitely and let it heal.
“Could he return and be healthier and be more of himself, I think is in his mind a lot of what he's considering,” Holtmann said the day the choice was made to pull Walker from action.
After two weeks on the sideline, Walker can get back onto the court with the Buckeyes. The fifth-year senior is expected to once again take over ball-handling duties, which Justice Sueing and Duane Washington Jr. shared for the past two weeks.
In the first 11 games of the season, Walker averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 assists – compared to two turnovers – in a team-high 31.5 minutes per game. The area where his injury possibly most affected him, was his shot. He was in the middle of posting career-lows of 30.1 percent shooting from the floor to go along with a 20-percent mark from 3-point range.