The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s soccer team is on the verge of getting healthy – finally.
OSU (1-2-1) has gotten contributions from players that have recently returned from injury and, with one notable exception, more players are expected to rejoin the team. Coach John Bluem, who will start working previously injured players back into the lineup, told The Lantern he is looking forward to having a healthy team back together.
“We’re not completely injury free,” Bluem said. “We’re a little bit nicked up right now. Guys are returning from injuries, but it has slowed down our ability to have everybody fit and ready to contribute at times.”
Bluem is especially concerned about senior defender Ben Killian, who fractured a bone in his foot.
“Ben will probably red shirt this year,” Bluem said. “He broke his fifth metatarsal . That’s a tough injury to come back from. He might be able to rejoin us for practices in late October but his fitness will not be good enough to play.”
However, there are other valuable players Bluem is happy to bring off the bench, including sophomore forward Kenny Cunningham.
“Kenny had some good minutes tonight and he’s just returning from an injury,” Bluem said.
Cunningham returned to the lineup Aug. 24 in a game against Dayton after tearing his hip flexor. In just his third game back, Cunningham scored the game-winner in overtime against Davidson Sunday to help OSU clinch its second consecutive Bert and Iris Wolstein Clasic championship.
“I’m definitely trying to come back strong and work on everything,” Cunningham said. “I know I’m not in the best shape I can be in and I just need to work on my fitness.”
Senior midfielder Sebastian Rivas agrees with Bluem that there are plenty of players to bring off the bench.
“Depth-wise, we have a lot of people who can start to come off the bench and start and contribute for us,” Rivas said. “Now that we’re starting to get healthy I think we can all start giving 100 percent.”
Bluem said he knows rebounding from injuries can be a struggle, but he is looking forward to having most of his team back together soon.
“Hopefully we can go through a stretch soon where we stop having injuries,” Bluem said.
OSU continues play Friday at San Diego. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m.