The Ohio State men’s basketball team has three games against two of the nation’s best teams remaining on its schedule before postseason play begins. That task is difficult enough for the 18-10 Buckeyes, but it could get all the more daunting as OSU will have to do it without arguably its best player.
Sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate, who has started all 28 games so far this season and is averaging 11.7 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting and has added 6.4 rebounds per contest, will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, an OSU spokesman confirmed Tuesday evening prior to OSU’s game at the Schottenstein Center against Michigan State.
Tate, who Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch noted had surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder in high school, reaggravated an injury he has been playing through multiple times during Sunday’s 65-62 overtime win at Nebraska.
According to the OSU spokesman, Tate received treatment on his shoulder Tuesday afternoon, at which point it was determined that he would be unable to suit up for the remainder of the season.
The spokesman said Tate will have surgery on his shoulder Friday at the Wexner Medical Center.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Pickerington, Ohio, native has been a fixture of OSU coach Thad Matta’s rotation in each of his first two collegiate seasons after averaging 8.8 points in 22.0 minutes per game during his rookie campaign a season ago.
Tate has been one of the main scoring options for the Buckeyes this year, scoring double-digit points in 18 of the 28 games. That includes such performances in nine of his last 11 games, including 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting at Nebraska.
An embarrassing moment for the sophomore came during the contest in Lincoln, Nebraska, though, as he was caught off-balance while slapping the court on defense late in the second half, which allowed the player he was defending to blow by him into the lane. As Jardy pointed out, Tate was grimacing and holding his shoulder after the play. He left the game, but eventually returned and stayed in for the remainder of the contest.
Tate has been the most consistent player throughout the season and a strong rebounder and defender, despite playing undersized. In Tuesday’s game against Michigan State, it was freshman forward Mickey Mitchell who Matta tabbed to start in Tate’s place.
After Tuesday’s game against No. 6 Michigan State, the Buckeyes’ next contest — without Tate — is set to come on Sunday at home against No. 8 Iowa. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Editor’s note: The story has been updated after confirmation of Tate’s surgery.