(**see below for updates to this post) It’s totally second-hand and unofficial, but supposedly, a member of the OSU medical team used the phrase “turf toe” when questioned by a reporter about Wells’ foot. The discussion occurred in the background of Jim Tressel’s after-game press conference.
Replays of Beanie’s injury certainly support the rumor, as turf toe usually occurs when a player takes off quickly (bending his toes too far back), or stops quickly (jamming his toes against the front of his shoes). Beanie appeared to do both of those things on his final run.
It’s essentially a sprain of the capsule part of the big toe’s socket. Typically, it’s an injury that a running back can play through. OSU fans should remember Lydell ‘Turf Toe’ Ross, who played through the injury for two consecutive seasons.
However, it’s extremely painful, and the pain always affects the athlete’s performance. It’s a nagging injury that never heals until the player stops running on it (usually at the end of the season).
So, IF it’s true (again, remember this is just rumor), it’s mixed news. OSU might have Beanie, but it’s possible he might not be 100% for the rest of the season.
It’s a similar situation as what occurred in 2007. Last autumn, Wells played through an early-season knee problem; then for the rest of the season, he played with a chipped bone in his foot and a sprained wrist. Tressel counseled him about the need to play through pain, and Wells responded with a fantastic year. So at least playing through pain is not uncharted territory for Beanie.
Whatever happens, OSU fans shouldn’t get too worked up. If the worst case happens, and Beanie is sidelined for most of all of the year, then both Saine and Herron are more than adequate to get the job done. Both would start at any other school, and especially with what we saw from Pryor today, the OSU running game is in good hands. Of course, Beanie is at a different level, and we want him there, but no single game or single season should be worth risking his long-term health.
Kicker Ryan Pretorius, who is Beanie’s neighbor in the locker room, told a television reporter on a local Columbus late-night sports program that “[Beanie’s] fine, it’s just his big toe.” The kicker didn’t seem that concerned about it.
UPDATE #2 (el Kaiser here):
Not much of another update, but at least a little more information, via The Dispatch:
A team insider said that after immediate X-rays showed showed no broken bones, further evaluation indicated it likely was a soft-tissue injury to the forefoot. Such an injury could cause him to miss anything from just a week to the rest of the season.