The senior, a respected captain and one of the most productive Buckeyes on defense the last two seasons, fractured his ankle in Saturday night's 31-24 win against No. 23 Wisconsin, and he was put directly into an ambulance to go to the hospital for surgery.
Ohio State had reason to celebrate a gritty win against a division rival to open Big Ten play at the Horseshoe, but the loss of Bryant cast a pall over the locker room and led to a frustrated Urban Meyer pounding his fist into a podium after announcing the injury.
"We just got news we lost our captain," the Buckeyes coach said. "Just tough news.
"I just love that kid -- he's done so much for our program, come so far. Incredible leadership skills, and he's going to be even more valuable outside of football. Hard part of the game, boy."
The Buckeyes will have to work quickly to find a replacement for a player who started every game for the unbeaten team a year ago and finished among the program's top-three tacklers in each of the last two seasons.
Another significant test is coming for Ohio State as it goes on the road to take on Northwestern, and while the secondary might be the deepest position group on the roster, Bryant's contributions go far beyond his tackling ability and knack for generating critical turnovers.
"Our leader is in an ambulance right now going to the hospital," Meyer said. "That's the concerning part [about preparing for Northwestern]. He's our leader, so that's concern No. 1, 2 and 3.
"Who is going to assume that leadership obligation? The responsibility that he has shown, he's an incredible young man."