Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Ohio State defensive lineman Nathan Williams will likely miss the remainder of the season, first-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell announced Tuesday.
Williams, a senior, has been out of action since injuring his left knee against Akron on Sept. 3 and undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 14.
Fickell said Williams will “probably have another surgery” but offered very few details in regard to the situation.
“I don’t know much more,” Fickell said. “It looks like (Williams) is done for the season.”
Williams led the Buckeyes with 4.5 sacks in 2010. He was also effective dropping into pass coverage last year, tallying three passes defended and recording an interception. In 2011, he was named to the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s best defensive end.
Former OSU head coach John Cooper told The Lantern Tuesday that he feels Williams is possibly the Buckeyes’ best player.
“I think we got some really, really bad news today regarding Nate Williams,” Cooper said. “(He), in my opinion, arguably might have been our best football player.”
As far as the effect Williams’ absence has had, and will have on the Buckeyes defense, Fickell turned the focus to moving on.
“He hasn’t played since the first game,” Fickell said. “It’s a part of the game. Sometimes when you figure out what you’re going with, it might make you better, too.
“We’re not going to sit and dwell upon it.”
Senior linebacker Tony Jackson said that although the team would obviously want to have Williams back, it must press forward.
“We’d like to have him back,” Jackson said. “If he could go, we’d definitely have him in there. But if he can’t go, we’ve got to go on without him. We can’t just stop because we lost one player or something happened. We’ve got to keep moving on.”
Under NCAA bylaw 14.2.4, Williams would be able to apply for a hardship waiver, which could grant him an extra year of eligibility. According to the bylaw, a player is eligible to apply if he or she suffers an “incapacitating injury or illness” during the first half of the team’s season, and competes in no more than three games or 30 percent of the team’s games, whichever is greater.
OSU will continue play without Williams on Saturday at Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30p.m. and will be televised on ABC.