|Senior linebacker Etienne Sabino will likely miss a month recovering from a broken right fibula. (US Presswire)|
Ohio State's depth will be tested again in the coming weeks, with the announcement that starting linebacker Etienne Sabino will miss at least the next three games recovering from leg surgery.
Urban Meyer confirmed on Monday that the senior linebacker broke his right fibula in the 63-38 win over Nebraska on Saturday, and surgery to repair the injury will likely keep Sabino off the field for the next month.
"Tremendous blow," Meyer said on Monday. "He's a very good player, but it goes beyond that because he's like a brother to everybody on the team."
Sabino is currently third on the team with 37 tackles and has recorded two sacks and an interception during the 6-0 start for the Buckeyes, No. 8 in the AP Poll. The fifth-year senior will be replaced by freshman Joshua Perry, one of eight true freshmen in the Buckeyes' two-deep. Ohio State's 2012 roster has only 76 scholarship players, nine short of the NCAA limit (85).
"We are definitely feeling the issues of a scholarship reduction; absolutely we are," Meyer told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "Any time there is transition of a coaching staff, there is transition of players and we're feeling that in a big way. When we lost a couple of [defensive] linemen, that hurt us bad. It doesn't show up until someone gets a turf toe or someone has an issue. Then it really starts to surface, and we're at that point now."
Sabino was an early scratch for the Buckeyes match-up on Saturday night at Indiana, but the announcement on Monday likely has him also out for Purdue (Oct. 20), Penn State (Oct. 27), and Illinois (Nov. 3). Ohio State then has a late off week before finishing the regular season on the road against Wisconsin and at home against Michigan.
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