Thursday, January 24, 2002

Surgery, redshirt near for Sylvester?

Moeller product battling bad back

By Gary Estwick
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLUMBUS — Instead of playing or even practicing with his Ohio State teammates, Matt Sylvester spends most of his time separated from the team in the training room. A Stairmaster is his only company.

        The former Moeller High School standout, a freshman, hurt his back lifting weights a couple of months ago. Thinking the pain would go away over time, he continued regular activities and aggravated the injury. Then, a month ago, it got so bad he could hardly walk.

        Sylvester has been trying to rehab ever since. In three weeks, his condition will be reassessed, and if he isn't improving at an acceptable rate, he probably will undergo season-ending surgery for a herniated disk.

        “Just when it looked like things were going good, the injury happened,” Sylvester said. “You can't do anything about it.”

        Sylvester, a forward, played in three games earlier this season, averaging 1.3 points. If Sylvester undergoes surgery, he will apply for a redshirt.

        Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien said he still hopes Sylvester can get better in the next few weeks and avoid redshirting.

        “It's not a given, but we're close to the point of no return where he won't be able to play this season,” O'Brien said. “It's been over a month since he's played.”

        If Sylvester does have to redshirt, he does see one positive.

        “If I come back as a (redshirt) freshman, I'll be 15 pounds heavier and a lot faster,” Sylvester said.


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