The race for the backup quarterback position might be over as Joe Burrow underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand, a team spokesperson said Wednesday.
Burrow, who was starting quarterback J.T. Barrett’s backup in the spring, suffered the injury during practice on Monday and had an operation Tuesday to repair the fracture. There is currently no timetable for his return, co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said.
Wilson said the injury happened on Monday when the team was running a drill and Burrow’s hand was struck by a helmet.
“It was an unfortunate day,” Wilson said. “[Quarterback Dwayne Haskins] and Joe, they were battling well, it’s unfortunate for [Burrow]. Dwayne needs to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Wilson also said while Burrow would be out and Haskins would take over sole possession of reps on the second team, Burrow could still return later in the season and compete again with Haskins for the backup spot.
“How does [Burrow] respond not getting those reps?” Wilson said. “And so, [Haskins] gets a little bit more reps right now, does he take advantage of the opportunity? We’ll see how long Joe is [injured] or when he comes back. We’ll want to get him back soon and keep him in the mix.”
Coach Urban Meyer had stated on Aug. 14 that the competition for the backup quarterback spot was just between Burrow and Haskins, though he acknowledged freshman Tate Martell had been impressive in practice. Following Burrow’s surgery, Haskins will take all the reps on the second team for the Buckeyes.
Though Martell is not expected to take over the backup spot at quarterback, Wilson said the team is still undecided as to whether or not they would opt to use the redshirt on him.
“It would be interesting this first week or so what Joe’s timeline really looks like,” Wilson said. “You hate to burn a redshirt year, but at the same time, you need what you need to be ready to play and a lot of years, you need more than one quarterback.”
Burrow had the benefit of past experience as he entered the backup quarterback competition. The redshirt sophomore appeared in five games last season, completing 22 of 28 pass attempts — two of which went for touchdowns — and amassing 226 yards through the air. He also carried the ball 12 times over the season, scoring a touchdown and totaling 58 yards on the ground.
Ohio State will begin its season on Aug. 31 against Indiana on the road, with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.
Updated at 9:26 p.m. with quotes from Wednesday’s press conference