Buckeyes' coaches mulling Wells' playing status for Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells is not taking contact or putting pressure on his injured right foot but still holds out hope of playing in the Buckeyes' next game.

Team officials and doctors will huddle within the next day or two to decide if and when Wells will play next. The second-ranked Buckeyes play Ohio University on Saturday, then travel to take on No. 1 Southern California Sept. 13.

"Is he injured or does he just have some pain he can play through?" running backs coach Dick Tressel said Wednesday. "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."

Wells has an injury at the base of his big toe on his right foot, said Tressel, the older brother of coach Jim Tressel. Wells has difficulty putting pressure on the foot and has not participated in full practices this week, Tressel said.

"Absolutely, he wants to play Saturday, but it's not his call," Tressel said.

Wells was injured in the third quarter of Ohio State's 43-0 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday. He writhed on the ground and was eventually helped off the field. He returned to watch the final few minutes, wearing a protective black boot on his foot.

Tressel said Wednesday that he had seen Wells wearing the boot and not wearing it earlier in the day.

"I'd just as soon he wore it all the time," he said.

Considered one of the top Heisman Trophy prospects this season, Wells will have to wait for doctors to decide whether he is available to play against Ohio University on Saturday.

If Wells is unable to play, a group of four running backs will all see playing time: Maurice Wells, Brandon Saine, Dan "Boom" Herron and Marcus Williams.

"If I could get each of them about 15 carries, I'd have a good weekend," Tressel said.

Wells has had nagging injuries throughout his two previous years at Ohio State. Still, he rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 15 touchdowns a year ago, marking him as one of the top returning running backs in the nation.