Wells Might Be Ready To Play

Although his biggest star's status is far from certain, Ohio State running backs coach Dick Tressel expressed a level of optimism when discussing the status of starting tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells following Wednesday's practice. Read on for the latest.

The status of Chris Wells remains in doubt for this weekend, but what almost appears to have been a miraculous recovery is continuing to progress for the tailback known as "Beanie."

Following Wednesday afternoon's practice, OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel said that while Wells did not take an active role in practice, he had not yet been ruled out for Saturday's contest against visiting Ohio University.

"We were unaware of exactly how the health-rehab situation would be with Beanie so we haven't said, ‘Wow, he's out so we have to do this, this and this," Tressel said. "Now as it gets closer, we may come to that point where we say, ‘Hey, he's not ready to play.'

"Nobody's told me that yet, that he's not ready to play."

One way they will gauge whether or not Wells will tote the ball against the Bobcats will lie with whether or not the coaches think he can be close to his normal self. That evaluation is ongoing.

"Beanie is a day-by-day situation," Tressel said. "Any time you have a foot injury when you have to tote around 238 pounds at high velocity, it's a day-by-day (situation). That really becomes our decision: ‘Hey, when is he ready to play like Beanie plays?' "

The key to determining whether or not he can practice – and therefore play this weekend – lies with whether or not Wells is able to play without hampering his ability to play. There is no drop-dead date for when that might be, but it is safe to say that time is running out.

Generally, the two most important days for a player to take part in practice in order to be effective on Saturdays are Wednesday and Thursday. Wells has not practiced since suffering the injury against Youngstown State.

However, Wells was on the practice field on Wednesday but did not take part in drills. Tressel said he rode the exercise bike and took part in everything but actual drills.

"We didn't hand him the ball or ask him to get out of anybody's way or put pressure on his foot today," he said. "That'll be the doctor's decision, when he's able to do that. He's with us. There's no question Beanie Wells wants to play as soon as he's capable."

Wells first sustained the injury as he fumbled a handoff from quarterback Todd Boeckman early in the third quarter of OSU's game against the Penguins. He was helped to the field and carted to the locker room, and fans were assuming the worst.

After returning to the field during the fourth quarter of the YSU game wearing a protective boot on his right foot, Wells has primarily been seen wearing one all week. Following Tuesday's practice, he walked down the hallway at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center waving the boot over his head while smiling at reporters.

Wednesday, Tressel said he has seen Wells alternating between wearing the boot and not wearing it. The purpose of the boot is to relieve pressure on his foot, he said.

Although Tressel said he has not been told the actual diagnosis for Beanie's injury, he confirmed that Wells has been injured in the front part of his foot near the base of his big toe.

"He's willing to play through bumps and bruises," Tressel said. "This one's a little bit different."

Although he suffered from both ankle and wrist injuries last season, the different this time is that it is in a position where it can affect Wells' motoring abilities. As such, the coaches and trainers are approaching this injury differently.

"I'm not worried about anything but having him ready to play when he plays because he might want to go too soon," Tressel said. "I'm sure that when he does play, he will play well. He'll play through pain. That's the issue for the trainers: When are we talking about the injury and when are we talking about pain?

"Is he injured or does he have some pain that he can play through? We're counting on playing a lot of football this fall, and we're going to be smart with his rehab."

That might mean sitting Wells this weekend and resting him for USC. No one has told Tressel about that, either.

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