COLUMBUS — Ohio State can now officially add an injury to the insulting loss at Purdue. Wide receiver Austin Mack could miss the rest of the season after undergoing foot surgery.
The junior left the shocking upset on the road on Saturday early after getting hurt in the second half, and he was seen leaving the stadium on crutches with a walking boot on one foot. Two days later, Mack had a procedure performed to address the issue, and the expected recovery time is six to eight weeks.
Potentially Mack could be cleared in time for the postseason, but that is unclear at this point for Ohio State’s talented target.
Ohio State confirmed the surgery through a school spokesman on Tuesday. The program lists Mack as out indefinitely following the procedure on his left foot.
Mack has had some ups and downs this year after coming in with enormous expectations as perhaps the best all-around prospect for the Buckeyes at wideout. He struggled early in the season with some key drops, but he’s also been a favorite target for quarterback Dwayne Haskins and ranks third on the team with 26 receptions through eight games. Mack has also accounted for 331 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio State is deep enough at wide receiver to withstand the absence of Mack and keep one of the nation’s most prolific passing attacks rolling into November. The Buckeyes consistently roll at least six guys through the rotation for position coach Brian Hartline, and that could continue with younger options like Jaylen Harris or Chris Olave sliding into the mix if they decide to keep the same approach. If not, Ohio State will still have veterans Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor and Terry McLaurin to carry the load for the wide receivers.
Mack is eligible for the NFL Draft after this season, so he will have the option to forego his remaining season at Ohio State and turn professional. Whether or not the injury might influence his decision to return obviously remains to be seen, but at least for the short term, the Buckeyes already know now that they’ll have to move on without him.