In Ohio State's match-up with Iowa, center Zed Key left the game twice due to his shoulder injury and was unable to return. Read more about this devastating set back for the Buckeyes.
In a heartbreaking match-up against Iowa, the Ohio State Buckeyes suffered a major blow as center Zed Key left the game twice due to a shoulder injury and was unable to return. His absence from the court left his team devastated as they attempted to battle through without him in their line-up. Read more here about this tragic setback for Ohio State.
What is the Extent of Zed Key’s Injury?
While the full extent of Zed Key’s injury is still unknown, it has been reported that he suffered a dislocated right shoulder. He left the court in the first half after attempting to fight for a rebound, then returned later briefly before exiting again and was unable to return. Relief players filled in on the court but Ohio State will miss Zed's physical presence and leadership on the court.
How Could This Affect the Remainder of the Season?
The loss of Zed Key is a huge setback for the Ohio State basketball team. With Key out, the Buckeyes will have to rely on other players to fill in his role as leader. This could put more pressure on other players and affect team morale if they are unable to find an adequate replacement. Key was also one of the best physical presences on the court, so Ohio State may need to adjust their game plan going forward to make up for his absence.
Who Could Step Up And Fill Key’s Role?
With Key likely out for for some time, it is unclear who will be able to take his place on the court and fill his role as leader. There are several contenders for this position, including Eugene Brown and Felix Okpara, all of whom have seen more minutes recently in Key’s absence. Neither of them can replace Key’s physical presence on the court but if any of these players can step up into a larger role it could help alleviate some of the pressure due to his absence.
Eugene Brown III is a 6'7" forward from Conyers, Georgia who is currently playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school and was ranked among the top 150 recruits in the country by ESPN. He played 29 games his freshman season, and earned Academic All-Big Ten during his sophomore campaign. Brown averaged 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his second year of action. He shot 44.2 percent from the floor. Brown has the potential to become a key player for the Buckeyes if Zed Key is out for some time.
Felix Okpara, a freshman center, currently playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes also filed in for Key. He is a 6'11" center from Nigeria who was rated as a four-star recruit by 247 Sports. Okpara has been an impact player in his first year at Ohio State, averaging 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1 block per game. He has also been a key part of the Buckeyes' defense. Okpara is a great all-around player who can play both inside and outside and has the potential to be an important piece of the Buckeyes' success in the years to come.
Is There Hope For The Buckeyes To Still Succeed In The Postseason?
Despite suffering a heartbreaking exit from the Ohio State-Iowa match due to Key’s shoulder injury, the Buckeyes still have plenty of reason to be hopeful for postseason success. While his absence is a major blow, there appears to be several players who can help fill in for what Key brought to the team. If these players can step up and contribute, then there is still hope that the Buckeyes will have strong enough performances in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament and NIT Tournament to make a run into March Madness.
What Can Be Done To Help Zed Key’s Recovery and Return?
Zed Key and Ohio State have yet to announce the full extent of his injury, so it’s not known at this time whether he will be able to return to action. Nevertheless, in order for him to return as soon as possible and ensure a positive recovery, the team’s medical staff must engage in preventative measures such as muscle-strengthening activities, proper nutrition and adequate rest. Also, the availability of physical therapy treatments and other therapeutic practices should help aid in the recovery process. Ultimately, if Key is able to successfully complete all necessary treatment and rehabilitation regimens before the Big Ten Championship and NIT Tournament commence, then he should be back on the court with no lingering effects.