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Mom says yes; Turner cleared to play

1/6/2010

It has been an interesting day in Columbus so far as the Ohio State coaching staff is awaiting word from Iris James, Evan Turner's mother, to ensure that Turner is cleared to play against Indiana Wednesday night.

According to the staff, James traveled from her home in Chicago and was at practice Tuesday, wanting to see her son move and see how he handled himself four-plus weeks since the frightening fall that caused a fracture in his back on Dec. 5. James also met with the training staff before clearing her son to play.

The Columbus Dispatch reported earlier Wednesday that Turner’s mother said he would play, and the assumption from the coaching staff is that he will. But no one is 100 percent certain until the players show up for the game. During practices the past week, Turner was handling mostly non-contact drills, and according to the staff was playing exceptionally well with the second team. On Tuesday, he apparently looked as good as he did earlier in the season, when he was on target to be an all-American and had multiple triple-double games. He was also at Wednesday morning’s shootaround and showed that he was ready to play physically.

If the junior guard is available, as it appears to be the case, then it’s uncertain if OSU coach Thad Matta will start him. But it's guaranteed that if Turner is in uniform, he will play a load of minutes.

Turner was averaging 18.5 points, 5.9 assists and 11.4 rebounds in the first eight games of the season before suffering the injury against Eastern Michigan. The Buckeyes were 7-1 when Turner went down but are 3-3 without him, dropping their first two Big Ten games on the road at Wisconsin and Michigan.

Matta started P.J. Hill in Turner’s place in the loss to the rival Wolverines. The Buckeyes had three players play 40 minutes in that game.

(Editor's Note: At 5:35 p.m. ET, Andy Katz got official word that Turner will play tonight against Indiana. His minutes will be determined as the game goes along.)