Usually when Ohio State’s excellent Evan Turner goes up for a dunk, it ends with the crowd looking on in disbelief. Usually, that disbelief is a good thing. Not so, this afternoon. About seven minutes into the Buckeyes’ tilt against Eastern Michigan earlier today, Turner took a strong dribble into the lane, went up for a two-handed jam, took light contact going up, and couldn’t keep his grip on the rim as his legs kept going forward. Turner was parallel to the ground…and then fell flat, producing that terrible disconcerting sound that you only hear with that particular type of fall.
Initial x-rays were negative, but more sensitive CT imaging at the OSU Med Center showed fractures of the transverse processes of the second and third lumbar vertebrae.
The transverse processes are places where other ligaments and muscles attatch, lending to the flexibility of the area. If there is no associated injury, transverse process fractures are almost always treated conservatively — that is, with rest and relaxation. Sometimes patients will have to wear a corset or something similar to add stability for a while, but if you allow proper healing time, the long-term stability of the lower back usually isn’t affected. Turner will be out eight weeks, though. The length of his convalescence is because, unlike a broken arm or leg, this is not a part of the body that you can just slap into a cast and let it heal.
December is indeed a cruel month for the OSU basketball program. Last December, of course, it was forward David Lighty who broke his foot and was out for the rest of the season, changing the complexion of the Buckeyes’ entire 2008-09 campaign. It’s always unfortunate when any player gets hurt and misses so much time, but Evan Turner is by all reports one of the true great guys in the game. We hope his recovery goes well.