On Tuesday, Dec. 20, the Ohio State Buckeyes needed overtime and late magic to beat the USF Bulls 88-86. Before guard Taylor Mikesell hit a big three-pointer in the extra period, the Scarlet & Gray were dealt a blow when guard Madison Greene went down holding her knee.
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, the diagnosis became public and it's bad news for the Buckeyes with Greene out for the rest of the season.
Anytime a player is injured this severely, it’s always tough but for Greene, it hits harder. Last season, Greene suffered a season-ending knee injury before the season began, missing the entire 2021-22 Big Ten regular season championship-winning season.
This year, Greene played in Ohio State’s first 12 games. It took a couple of games to get back into game speed but she acclimated quickly. In those dozen appearances, Greene averaged 10.9 points and 5.0 assists per game.
Of those 12, Greene started seven because of another injury. The Pickerington, Ohio guard took the place of Dublin, Ohio guard Jacy Sheldon, who suffered a lower leg injury that started as day-to-day but is now a “week-to-week” ailment.
Sheldon’s injury isn’t all season, but Wednesday she continued to be off the Buckeyes roster as they traveled to Evanston, Illinois to face the Northwestern Wildcats.
In place of the two point guards is now redshirt junior guard Rikki Harris. The Indianapolis, Indiana product stepped into the role for the first time since high school within 24 hours of the Greene injury, starting against the Oregon Ducks.
Against the Ducks, Harris dished a career-high eight assists in the 84-67 Buckeyes victory. Harris has filled in for teammate’s injuries in the last two seasons, most notably last year when now LSU guard Kateri Poole went down and Sheldon slid into the point guard role. Harris became a starter and was in the starting lineup for the last 19 games of the season, through the NCAA Tournament.
Harris can play the position, but both injuries put the Buckeyes’ depth into question. Beyond Harris, there aren’t many on the roster with consistent minutes who can slide in at a moment’s notice, like Harris.
With Greene and Sheldon missing, it will be tough for Ohio State in some of their big games through the rest of the season. Most notably being Saturday, when the Michigan Wolverines travel to Columbus to face Ohio State at the Covelli Center.
Next month it doesn’t get any easier, facing the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Illinois Fighting Illini to start the 2023 portion of the season.
Weather that storm, and get Sheldon back healthy, and Ohio State has the chance to continue its best run since the 2011-12 season.