C.J. Stroud Separated AC Joint in His Shoulder in Season Opener Against Minnesota, But Feels “Almost Back to 100%” Now

By Dan Hope on November 4, 2021 at 1:51 pm
C.J. Stroud

The shoulder injury that plagued C.J. Stroud early this season was a separated AC joint that he suffered in Ohio State’s season opener against Minnesota.

During an appearance on Big Ten Network on Thursday, Stroud revealed he suffered that injury when he took a hit on his shoulder during Ohio State’s first game of the season against Minnesota.

While Stroud had been seen favoring his shoulder during preseason camp as well, Stroud said the injury he battled through during the season “was a whole different injury.”

“Fall camp, I had stressed my rotator cuff,” Stroud said. “In the Minnesota game, I got a hit right on my shoulder and separated my AC joint, so that one wasn’t fun, it was kind of painful.”

The shoulder injury clearly hampered Stroud during Ohio State’s second and third games of the season against Oregon and Tulsa. Since Stroud took a week off and sat out the Buckeyes’ fourth game of the season against Akron, however, he’s been feeling much better.

“That week of rest really helped me,” Stroud said. “Helped me just really gain back my confidence and my strength in my shoulder.”

Stroud said the injury has been healing on its own and he will not need surgery after the season, and he feels “almost back to 100%” now.

“Coach Mick, he does a good job in the weight room, he definitely helps me get it back stronger, and it’s just one of those things that takes time,” Stroud said. “I’m definitely feeling a lot better.”

In his last four games since he took a week off, Stroud has completed 71.2 percent of his passes (84-of-118) for 1,307 yards and 15 touchdowns with no interceptions, becoming a Heisman Trophy candidate in the process. Despite his early struggles, he always stayed confident that he could lead Ohio State’s offense successfully, which he says was advice he received from former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, too.

“He taught me the speed of the game really doesn’t change, just the mindset, and you really have to be locked in every single play. You have to make good decisions, you have to handle the game well, you have to manage the game as a quarterback but at the same time, do you and make plays. And just be confident,” Stroud said. “And I remember he texted me before the season started, he said, ‘No matter how the season starts, just know that you’ll finish strong. You just have to get comfortable out there.’”

Stroud knows he’ll face another test this week, though, as Ohio State plays Nebraska on the road.

“Their record doesn't really purvey what they put on film,” Stroud said. “They’re a veteran, fast team, they play fast, they know what kind of defense they run and they execute it well. So we just have to stay on our P’s and Q’s and really lock in.”

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