For months, the question from most Ohio State women’s basketball fans is about guard Jacy Sheldon and when she’s coming back. The dynamic guard from Dublin, Ohio hasn’t played since No. 30, missing 15 of Ohio State’s 20 games this season with a foot injury.
On Tuesday, head coach Kevin McGuff provided an update on Sheldon on the Locked On Women’s Basketball Podcast, a show from The Next women’s basketball website.
“One of our best players, Jacy Sheldon, will be coming back at some point, very soon, I think,” said McGuff.
It’s promising news from a player who hasn’t only grabbed attention in the college game but from scouts in the professional ranks. Sheldon is a two-way player who can run up and down the court seemingly all game, scoring points and pressuring on defense at an impressive rate.
This season, Sheldon led the NCAA in steals with 30 in the five games she started at the beginning of the season. Of those 30 steals, 19 came in the first two games against the then No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers and Boston College Eagles. Sheldon grabbed 11 alone against the Eagles, tying the Ohio State program record.
That production, along with leading the Buckeyes in scoring last season with 19.7 points per game, means that the Scarlet & Gray aren’t as dangerous as they can be with her off the court.
Over the last two weeks, there’s been progress for the guard. After that Nov. 30 win against the then No. 16 Louisville Cardinals, Sheldon wore a boot on her right foot and was listed as day-to-day. As the weeks continued, Sheldon’s status was downgraded to week-to-week, adding crutches on top of wearing the boot.
In the last two games, Sheldon’s been off both and standing near the edge of the court as the Buckeyes warm up. As with any injury, the question that goes beyond “when will she return” is “how much will she play when she does return?”
“With her specifically is we bring her back when she’s ready to go 100%,” said McGuff. “Because she’s not the type of kid who does really well with, ‘Hey we’re going to play you a couple minutes,’ load management and all that stuff.”
McGuff went on to say that Sheldon’s personality isn’t the type to do well sitting on the sidelines. When Sheldon is on the bench, and healthy, it doesn’t take more than 10 seconds for her to ask why she’s not back in the game.
There’s no word on what “very soon” means in terms of a specific game. Thursday, Ohio State travels to Bloomington, Indiana to face the No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers. It’s a game that fans would prefer she returns for, but in the long run, waiting for a fully healthy Sheldon is better than rushing back for a regular season game.
Working alongside doctors and trainers, coach McGuff isn’t going to bring the guard back until she’s 100%. This isn’t exactly news but there won’t be a slow, come-off-the-bench-for-a-few-minutes type of return. When Sheldon comes back, she’s back.
“I like the way we play,” said McGuff, “I think when we’re healthy and at 100%, I think we can be a difficult team to play against.”
There’s a lot more in the interview too about the Buckeyes’ style of play, their impressive ability to force turnovers, and more.