Beanie Playing Through Pain

The attention paid to Chris "Beanie" Wells' injured right foot has decreased since his return to the lineup, but that does not mean the pain has gone away for Ohio State's leading rusher. Find out how Beanie is coping with the situation and what he knows about his future of playing with the injury.

With the ascension of freshman Terrelle Pryor to the starting quarterback position, the health of Chris "Beanie" Wells has taken a back seat. Of course, back-to-back 100-plus-yard rushing games might erase most concerns about the health of a tailback once billed as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

But after the team's practice Tuesday afternoon, it was a subdued Wells who met with reporters to offer the latest on his injured right foot/toe. The good news is that the 6-1, 237-pound junior does not figure to see his pain increase as he goes through the final seven games of the 2008 season.

The bad news is that he does not figure to see his pain decrease, either.

"It's going to hurt," he said. "That's the main thing. I want to get out there. There's going to be pain every week. I don't see anything changing, but I'll have to go through it."

The pain this week was the same level he felt last Tuesday, Wells said, when he was fresh off a 14-carry, 106-yard performance against Minnesota. Against Wisconsin under the lights on a prime-time broadcast, he improved upon those numbers and rushed for 168 yards on 22 carries and brought home the team's offensive player of the week honors.

At his weekly press luncheon after the Wisconsin game, head coach Jim Tressel said he felt Wells looked the best he had all season.

"I wasn't a hundred percent sure how much he could play because he'd only carried it a dozen times the week before," Tressel said. "For him to step up after (tailback Dan Herron) got hurt and carry it over 20 times was a real plus for us. To me, he looked healthier than he's looked since preseason. He got a little sore after the game, but in the last couple days he's felt good."

In three games of action, Wells has carried the ball 49 times for 385 yards – an average of 7.9 yards per carry and 128.3 yards per game.

Following his return to action against the Golden Gophers, Wells termed himself as being 75 percent healthy with the hopes of progressing to 90 percent before the season was over.

On Oct. 7, he declined to put out a guess as to how healthy he was.

"I don't want to pin a number on it, whether it's 80 or 75 percent," he said. "It hurts."

It does not hurt enough, however, to keep him out of Saturday's home game against Purdue (3:30 p.m., ABC) or out of any drills in the team's preparation for the game.

Since suffering the injury within the shadow of the end zone after the final outcome was already decided in OSU's season-opening game against Youngstown State, the exact nature of Wells' injury has remained shrouded in mystery. Tressel claimed to not have been able to read Wells' MRI results, and Wells himself was not made available for interviews until he returned to game action.

Following the Minnesota game, Wells said he himself did not know what the official word was on his injury, only that it hurt at the base of his big toe and required him to wear a special shoe to help distribute pressure along his foot.

As a result of the situation, Wells admitted to being frustrated with his inability to show all he feels he is capable of.

"I expected to play a little bit better, but I feel like with the shoes I have on and the injury I can't expect to go out there and put up monster numbers and do the things that I know I'm capable of," he said. "I just have to go with the flow."

How long it will take for his injury to heal also remains uncertain. Asked what would make his foot feel better, Beanie replied that he did not know. It does not affect him too much during games because adrenaline helps him play through the pain, he said.

Asked if he has taken any shots for the pain, Wells said he had not.

The situation is similar to the one Wells found himself in during his first season as a starter. During the 2007 season, Wells had to tough his way through a recurring ankle injury that kept him from being 100 percent during the season.

"It's pretty much the same," he said. "There's going to be pain week in and week out and I've got to play through it. Sometimes you plant awkward ways, and me being a wild runner, that happens. I'm willing to go out there and help the team any way possible."

Throughout the 2007 season, Tressel preached that Wells was learning how to be a warrior and learn how to play with pain.

Lesson learned.

"It's Tuesday and the pain is going to go away," he said. "I'm sure with any running back you're never fully ready to play a game until Thursday."

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