Tressel says Wells won't play vs. Ohio

Updated: September 4, 2008, 10:29 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells will not play when the third-ranked Buckeyes take on Ohio on Saturday.

Wells injured his right foot in last weekend's 43-0 victory over Youngstown State. He has not practiced with the team this week and has spent much of the time wearing a protective boot.

"Beanie won't go this week," Tressel said Thursday afternoon. "I feel good about his progress, but it wasn't enough progress to practice through yesterday."

Asked if he worries that Wells may not be available when the Buckeyes play at No. 1 Southern California on Sept. 13, Tressel added: "No, not at all. Not at all. But that's easy to say today."

The junior running back was considered one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy behind returning winner Tim Tebow of Florida. Despite several nagging injuries last year, Wells rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns.

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Ohio State has not allowed him to speak with reporters since he was injured, although he was quoted as saying by a team spokesman that he was relieved that X-rays had not shown any broken bones. He was seen walking between meetings at the team's practice facility on Tuesday, carrying the protective boot while gingerly making his way in stockinged feet.

Running backs coach Dick Tressel, Jim Tressel's older brother, said on Wednesday night that Wells had not been permitted to have contact or even to put weight on his injured foot.

"Any time you have a foot injury and you have to tote around 238 pounds at high velocity, it's a day-by-day thing," he said.

Jim Tressel said Wells' inability to practice all but prevented him from playing against Ohio.

"I think there's a little bit of risk when you don't practice, not just in the injury department but in the execution department," he said.

The Buckeyes will rotate Maurice Wells (who is no relation), Brandon Saine and Dan Herron at the position.

Much of the state has been in an uproar since Wells was injured, with almost endless speculation on the nature of the injury and how long he would be out on a number of Web sites, blogs and chat rooms.

Dick Tressel was asked if Wells was amused by all the attention.

"Not that I've seen. He's not very amused," he said. "I wouldn't say he's distraught. He's not upset. But he's focused on wanting to help this team and be the best that he can be and getting back on the field. He's as focused in his rehab as he would be preparing for a game."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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