Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
As soon as Beanie Wells injured his right foot/toe against Youngstown State, I thought there was no way the Ohio State star would play this week against Ohio. Nothing that has come out of Columbus this week leads me to believe otherwise. Wednesday's comments by running backs coach Dick Tressel only reinforce the likelihood that Wells will sit against the Bobcats. Tressel said the injury is on the base of his big toe.
"Is he injured or does he just have some pain he can play through?" Tressel said. "We've got a long way to go, we're counting on playing a lot of football this fall. We're going to be smart with his rehab."
A lot of that football will be played next week against top-ranked USC, and "being smart" would mean making sure Wells doesn't risk further injury. Ohio State should take Saturday's game as an opportunity to see what it has with Dan Herron, Maurice Wells and particularly Brandon Saine, who will see more time as a standard running back. The Buckeyes will need all their weapons and plenty of creativity to beat USC on the road.
They don't need to see Wells rack up 150 yards against an overmatched team and possibly make his injury worse. Keep in mind this isn't Wells' first injury. Last season, he played through pain from scar tissue in his left ankle as well as a broken bone in his wrist. There's an injury history here, one that doesn't need to be put at stake against Ohio.
Sure, Wells will want to play Saturday. Any competitor would. But as Dick Tressel said, "It's not his call." It's up to the coaches to make the right decision.