From Blogging The Buckeyes ~ Info on DE Nathan Williams' knee sprain, sustained on Sat afternoon…
The sight of Nathan Williams hopping off the field Saturday -- literally, not putting any weight on his left leg -- had to be a bit unsettling for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has four good-to-very-good starting defensive linemen: Williams, Dexter Larimore, Cameron Heyward and John Simon. But among those four, only Heyward has proved himself as a durable, every-down player....Simon played in spurts last year, Larimore has struggled with injuries and Williams has never been counted on to play as much as he is in line to this season.
And beyond those four, it gets sketchy. Nobody can reliably say what Solomon Thomas, Melvin Fellows, Garrett Goebel or Adam Bellamy (the next four on the two-deep) can do on the field, they just haven't played enough to judge.
Freshmen such as David Durham (at Williams' spot, pass-rushing end) and Jonathan Hankins (at tackle) may end up contributing, but again, that's a "may," not a "will."
So the extent of Williams' injury is important. Tim May reported in today's Dispatch that it is a sprain. By definition, a sprain is an injury to a ligament. A grade 1 sprain would mean the ligament is simply stretched and it's a matter of pain and swelling. Grade 2 would involved a partial tear.
We don't know the grade of Williams' sprain. That's why there is a wide range of estimated recovery times -- one to four weeks is the initial diagnosis.
Terrelle Pryor last year suffered a partial ligament tear -- a grade 2 sprain -- against New Mexico State. He was clearly limited for a few weeks, and even three-plus months later, it bothered him enough that he had arthroscopic surgery.
One might argue that a sprained knee hampers a defensive lineman more than a quarterback -- the lineman needs to push off and drive, putting more strain on his knee.
One or two weeks is no big deal -- Heyward had a high ankle sprain in camp two years ago, and it didn't seem to bother him a bit once the season started.
But four weeks takes OSU right up to the Miami game, when the Buckeyes will need all hands on deck. Defensive coordinator Jim Heacock likes to rotate 8 or 9 guys on the line, but until the backups prove themselves a bit more, it's imperative that OSU's starting four remain healthy.