Of course, that might be saying much for a team that routinely plays no more than six players on a given night. The No. 9 Buckeyes came off a lopsided victory Sunday against Illinois with the health of two starters in question, but head coach Thad Matta said Tuesday that he expects both Jon Diebler and William Buford to be full-go against the Boilermakers.
Each suffered injuries in the game against the Fighting Illini, but Diebler's status in particular had been in question since Monday afternoon. The team's leader in minutes played at 938 – 36.1 per game – came up holding his right (shooting) wrist after taking a charge with about five minutes remaining in the Illinois game.
The junior underwent X-rays both immediately after the game and Monday morning that were negative. He practiced Tuesday afternoon with heavy tape on his wrist, a move Matta termed precautionary.
"(It's) nothing major," the coach said. "He was mad that it was taped. It was just more of another day's rest. There was no break. There's no anything. He said it felt 10 times better than it did Sunday and (Monday)."
The injury has been termed a sprain. On Monday, Matta said Diebler was in a splint designed to immobilize the wrist but added that he was full-go. Diebler slept in the splint as well to keep the wrist secure.
Tuesday, Matta said Diebler's range of motion was limited due to the heavy tape job. He could be seen shooting free throws and flicking his wrist with no apparent problems.
"Guys all the time are limping or grimacing and you're like, ‘We'll deal with it after (the game),' " Matta said. "It was nothing as major as I think everybody may think it is. He (was limited) because they had so much tape on it, but that was strictly precautionary. Knowing Jon, he'll be back in here this afternoon with the tape off doing his shooting routine."
The injury was first noticed when Diebler missed a free throw in the final moments against Illinois.
"I saw him holding his wrist," Matta said. "One of the coaches said Diebler may be hurt and then he missed the free throw and I said, ‘Why'd you miss the free throw?' and he said, ‘My wrist hurts.' At that point we got him out. That's about all I knew."
He finished the game with a game-high 18 points on six three-pointers but missed both shot attempts taken after suffering the injury. He is third on the team with an average of 12.7 points per game, but Matta said he is more than just a shooter.
"I like having him out there for the fact that he can make shots but also because he has a great basketball IQ," the coach said. "He understands scouting and he understands the game of basketball. He's got a great motor. He's able to go all day. You like that about him."
As for Buford, the sophomore was limited to 22 minutes against Illinois after knocking legs with an opponent, Matta said. That marked the fewest minutes Buford had seen in a Big Ten game this season, tying his playing time in a foul-plagued afternoon Jan. 19 against Northwestern.
"(The Illinois medical staff) did something to him over there," Matta said. "They gave him some type of medicine, a shot. He got treatment Sunday night and then again (Monday) morning and he went (Monday) and again (Tuesday) so he's fine."
Matta added that Buford could not have been re-inserted into the game after he was removed with 15 minutes remaining. He is averaging 32.0 minutes per contest and sits second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.9 points per game.
"I don't get too technical with it, but he was fine," Matta said of Buford.