Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Ohio State redshirt senior linebacker Etienne Sabino will miss at least three weeks after breaking his right fibula during Saturday’s 63-38 win against Nebraska.
Sabino is expected to miss four weeks, according to a Monday athletic department release.
OSU’s depth chart, which is “Unofficial as of Oct. 8” lists freshman linebacker Joshua Perry in Sabino’s place.
First-year coach Urban Meyer, though, said the timetable for the captain’s return is fluid.
“He had surgery, had a plate put in … best case (for his return) is three weeks, worst-case is longer. We hope to get him back,” Meyer said Monday during his weekly press conference.
Three weeks of recovery would slate Sabino for an Oct. 27 return against Penn State in State College, Pa.
Meyer said the loss of Sabino is “a tremendous blow.”
“Sabino talked to the team afterwards, and it was an emotional moment,” he said. “This team’s getting pretty close because of guys like him. So that’s first. We’re going to miss him.”
Sabino totaled one tackle before leaving in the first half of the Buckeyes’ contest against the Cornhuskers, a 63-38 win.
Meyer said he wasn’t sure what caused Sabino’s injury, adding he thought the senior only participated in about 14 plays Saturday.
Just a week earlier, Meyer gushed about the linebacker’s eight-tackle, one-sack outing against Michigan State on Sept. 29 in East Lansing, Mich. OSU beat the Spartans, 17-16.
“It’s hard for me to say he’s not my favorite player on this team,” Meyer said during a press conference on Oct. 1.
Meyer said he and Sabino have a relationship unlike what might be typical between a coach and a player.
“I have conversations with him like I would a coach. I listen to him. I usually don’t listen a lot, and then I listen to him,” he said,
Meyer’s said he wasn’t aware that Sabino hadn’t played extensively since arriving to Columbus in 2008.
“I didn’t realize that until I went back and did a study on it,” Meyer said. “He’s been a classic underachiever. Now he’s a leader. He’s a grown man.”
Through the Buckeyes (6-0) first six games of the season, Sabino has recorded 38 tackles, two sacks and one interception.
OSU is scheduled to play Indiana on Oct. 13 in Bloomington, Ind.