With his right arm still in a sling, Shaun Lane sat on a row of aluminum bleachers while players such as Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis ran sprints and went through conditioning drills. Lane, a special teams standout for the Buckeyes as senior, suffered an injury to his brachial plexus that resulted in numbness down his right arm.
Lane was injured making a tackle in OSU's Fiesta Bowl matchup with Texas and had to be carted off the field. Now more than a month later, Lane is still waiting to regain full use of his arm.
"I damaged my nerve, which is a very slow process as far as healing goes," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I could wake up with it one day or it could take a couple of months. There is no timeline."
The brachial plexus consists of a network of nerves originating at the spinal cord that controls muscle movements and sensations in the shoulder, arms and hands. Lane still does not have sensation in his entire arm, and he said he can not feel temperature in his hand.
The hardest part of the situation is being relegated to the sidelines, he said.
"I'm glad I graduated already," he said. "Other than that, I can't do much of anything. I just sit around and watch and wish the best for my friends."
The injury could not have come at a worse time concerning Lane's hopes of making the NFL. Without an invitation to the league's scouting combine this weekend, his lone chance to show his talents to league scouts will be OSU's pro day scheduled for March 13. However, Lane has been unable to work out since the Fiesta Bowl and is running out of time to prepare himself for his one showcase opportunity.
"Right now I'm just waiting for the feeling to come back," he said. "I'm going to take it one step at a time and hope this won't be the end of my football career."
Grant Back: Among the group of former Buckeyes working out at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center is Larry Grant, a linebacker who went from San Francisco to St. Louis in his first year in the NFL.
"While I'm here I want to get into the best shape I can going into these offseason workouts in March with St. Louis," he said. "We've got a new coaching staff up there, so people say it's an open slot for everybody. It's full of competition, and that's what I like to do. I like to compete."
Grant's decision to train in Columbus has to do with more than football. The former JUCO transfer is on track to graduate next year, he said, and he is currently enrolled in courses at OSU.
The time spent at his alma mater brought back a number of memories.
"Ohio State has meant everything to me," he said. "Without Ohio State I wouldn't be in the position that I am today, not only on the field but mentally as a person too. It's meant everything to me for the last couple years of my life."
Pro Day Or Bust: Although the Buckeyes had a senior class of 28 players this past season and two juniors who opted to leave school early, just eight of them will represent the university at the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this weekend.
For the rest of them, that leaves pro day as the lone chance to impress teams considering drafting them.
"It's unfortunate that I'm not invited to the combine, but I've got to make the best of my pro day and show them what I've got," said quarterback Todd Boeckman, who was listed by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper as his top quarterback prospect one year ago. "I think I've got a lot to prove coming out this year. It was a tough year and I think I didn't show everything but I'll have to show a lot there to those guys."
Boeckman will be aided somewhat during pro day by the opportunity to throw in front of scouts with favorite targets Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie, both of whom are expected to take part in all available drills.
Running back Maurice Wells fell to third on the team's depth chart this past season, but he is hoping that his natural speed will encourage a team to take a chance on him.
"I definitely want to run a 4.3," he said. "That's my biggest goal. I think that would be big because the NFL, they can't teach speed. If you go out and show them you have a lot of speed and you can run really fast then they'll make a roster spot for you."
He also singled out Donald Washington, one player who opted to skip out on his senior season, as someone who has looked impressive in individual workouts since the 2008 season ended.
"There was a lot of skepticism about why he would leave when he had another year but he's really impressing me when I watch him work out," Wells said. "He's running well and jumping well and he looks good."