COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Evan Turner, who missed six games with broken bones in his lower back, returned early for Ohio State and started in a 79-54 victory over Indiana on Wednesday night.
Team doctors originally said Turner would be out 8 weeks after he fell hard to the court while trying to dunk in the Buckeyes' victory over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 5. He returned in 4½ weeks.
"I was fortunate enough to go up and dunk -- you know, land on my feet this time," Turner joked after finishing with eight points, four rebounds and five assists in 20 minutes.
Ohio State (11-4, 1-2 Big Ten), ranked all season, has dropped out of the Top 25 since Turner's injury. The Buckeyes lost their first two Big Ten games and had gone 3-3 -- losing all three road games -- without their leader in scoring (18.5), rebounding (11.4) and assists (6.0).
Turner said he thought of his injury at one point in the game.
"I'm not going to lie. In the second half I was running down the middle and I was thinking, 'Man, this happened like a month ago!' So I just kicked it out [to the corner]," Turner said. "Other than that, I'm not worried about dunking. If I had to redo that same play over again, I'd do it. It was just a freak accident."
Turner was wearing a protective, padded girdle similar to what his teammates wear.
The Buckeyes had a rough practice on Tuesday night, with Turner in the middle of the scrums. Coach Thad Matta said it was then he knew that Turner would be able to play.
"I was pretty pleased," Matta said. "He appeared to be pretty comfortable and confident. I was glad to see him get knocked down and pick himself up, which was huge. And also see him dunk."
Turner has been my fav collee player since he began his freshmen year and im so happy for him that he was able to come back this injury and still play the game he loves. I know he;ll regain his amazing play and will show the scouts he hasnt lost a step
glad to see him healthy and back in action
He looked a tad rusty last night, but I still think he's the 2nd best prospect in this draft after Wall.
1. John Wall
2. Evan Turner
3. Xavier Henry
4. Wes Johnson
5. Ed Davis
6. Derrick Favors
7. Al-Farouq Aminu
8. Cole Aldrich
9. Patrick Patterson
10. Greg Monroe
11. Donatas Motiejunas
12. Willie Warren
13. Avery Bradley
14. Devin Ebanks