Chris Holtmann expects at least one of his two banged-up captains to be available for Tuesday's season opener against Akron.
The Ohio State head coach said Monday that fifth-year senior forward Justice Sueing, who did not play in last week's exhibition against Indianapolis, is expected to be available "as long as his practice today goes well." Sueing has been dealing with a lower-leg injury since the end of last season.
Fifth-year senior forward Kyle Young, who was diagnosed with a vestibular dysfunction in October, will be a game-time decision.
"We need to see just more progression from him," Holtmann said. "I think there's certainly more doubt right now on Kyle's availability than Justice."
Neither Sueing nor Young suited up to play in last Monday's exhibition at the Schottenstein Center, and Holtmann had not previously provided a timeline for either players' return.
No Kyle Young or Seth Towns for Ohio State tonight (as expected), and Justice Sueing is out as well.— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) November 1, 2021
Sueing said last week that the injury he finished last year with took longer than expected to heal. pic.twitter.com/94VvepeXBd
“(Sueing) had some really good practices and some good moments, but it’s bothered him a little bit, it’s lingered a little bit," Holtmann said after last week's exhibition. "So tonight, really in his case, we asked him how he felt. He just did not feel like he could go at this point. So I think for us, it made sense to sit him and try to get him rehabbed.”
Holtmann said Sueing’s injury is the same one that hampered him during the Buckeyes’ 2020-21 postseason run.
"As much as possible, we need to get healthy," Holtmann said. "That’s gonna be critical for us. I’m hoping it’s not gonna be one of these things where it’s gonna be touch-and-go throughout the year, where we can have some consistency to him and to his play. But we’ll see how he continues to progress.”
On Oct. 29, Holtmann announced that Young would be out indefinitely following a vestibular dysfunction diagnosis, but said he didn't expect the issue to be a long-term injury.
Young missed the final three games of the 2020-21 season due to a concussion, and has dealt with injury issues for much of his college career. In 2019-20, Young missed time due to appendicitis, and also with a high ankle sprain. As a sophomore in 2018-19, Young suffered a stress fracture in his right leg that kept him out of several games.
"He's been able to get up and down a little bit and go through some non-contact stuff. I think he feels really good about how he's progressing, and so do we," Holtmann said. "I know he would like for it to all happen a little bit quicker, but he's clearly making progress. He sees it, his doctors see it."
The Buckeyes tip off against the Zips at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center.