As the Ohio State Buckeyes progress through spring practice, they are starting to compile a list of bad news. Just one day after it was reported that wide receiver Kamryn Babb could potentially miss the season due to yet another injury, Austin Ward of Lettermen Row is reporting that oft injured linebacker Justin Hilliard has again gone down.
After being carted off the field during Saturday’s Student Appreciation practice, Ward reports that Hilliard suffered an injury to his Achilles, and underwent surgery. The procedure and the subsequent rehabilitation will keep the former five-star prospect from Cinciannti out indefinitely.
BREAKING: Another tough injury at Ohio State as Justin Hilliard suffers an Achilles issue, undergoes surgery and is out indefinitely. Another guy with the Buckeyes who just can't catch a break. https://t.co/qF1T4OT4dk— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) March 26, 2019
Hilliard is — as Buckeye fans know — not new to injuries at Ohio State. His career has been defined at times by back-to-back bicep injuries early in his career, and it seems that this could be the worst set-back yet. An Achilles injury, especially one that requires surgery, usually takes months to recover from, and as we’ve seen with linebacker Tuf Borland — who suffered a similar injury last spring — the injury can have lasting impacts far after the recovery is technically over.
Because Hilliard is a fifth year senior, this was expected by many to be the year that he broke through to finally get the significant playing time that many felt that his talent deserved. However, it now seems that this injury may keep him off of the field for much of the year. Ohio State could, and likely will, apply for a medical hardship waiver to get him a sixth year of eligibility if that is the case, and Hilliard is willing to come back.
Hilliard has recorded 38 tackles in his career, and had his best year to date last season, racking up 20 tackles (one for a loss) and two deflections, mostly in late-game scenarios. He had the best game of his career against Minnesota, in what was still his lone start to this point as a Buckeye.
Land Grant Holy-Land will have updates on this story as soon as they become available.