Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller walked out of the training area of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center the other day with an icepack on his right shoulder. That was a good thing.
It meant the senior had been throwing a football during a workout.
Coming off shoulder surgery in February that kept him out of spring practice and away from throwing for more than a month, his comeback has moved up to the soft-passing phase the past couple of weeks.
“I’m feeling good,” Miller said as he walked past.
Coach Urban Meyer and his staff probably feel the same way about Miller’s progress, with the start of preseason camp about six weeks away. Asked at which point in the process he felt most confident that Miller would be back at full strength for the season, Meyer said, “We’re at that point right now.”
“He’s on schedule, I think, a little ahead of schedule,” Meyer said. “His demeanor is fantastic. His attitude is great.”
Of the players who had to miss most if not all of spring practice because of injuries, the question about Miller was the most pressing. His injury, after all, was to his throwing arm.
But tight end Jeff Heuerman, who suffered a sprained foot that required surgery in March, was a close second. Heuerman isn’t back to full speed yet, but he is out of the protective boot he had worn for a couple of months.
Safety Vonn Bell, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the spring, “is almost full speed,” Meyer said. “Evan Spencer is full speed. I think James Clark got dinged again, but he’s fine. He’s full speed.”
Spencer and Clark are receivers. Clark is coming back from a major knee injury suffered in the Florida A&M game in his freshman season last year.
Spencer suffered a broken fibula in his lower right leg in the Orange Bowl, a loss to Clemson. But the other day, the senior was running routes and catching passes from backup quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Stephen Collier during an indoor workout.
Jalin Marshall was out there, too. He missed most of spring practice because of a torn meniscus in his knee. He had surgery in March.
“Jalin Marshall is good to go,” Meyer said.
Sophomore guard Pat Elflein made it through most of spring drills before a lower-leg stress fracture knocked him out in the end, including the spring game. The Buckeyes have gone to great lengths to remedy Elflein’s problem, believed to be foot- and shoe-related.
“We flew him out to Oregon to have special shoes made (by Nike),” Meyer said. “He’s got some feet issues.”
Meyer said it’s not that long of a list of players who dealt with offseason injuries, and that all are projected to be ready for the 2014 season.
“Heuerman and Braxton are the long ones,” Meyer said of recovery times. “But by the time we start training camp, they will be very close to full speed.”
Aug. 30: vs. Navy, at Baltimore
Sept. 6: Virginia Tech
8 p.m. ESPN
Sept. 13: Kent State
Sept. 20: Off
Sept. 27: Cincinnati
6 p.m. BTN
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 11: Off
Oct. 18: Rutgers
3:30 p.m. ABC/ESPN/BTN
Oct. 25: at Penn State
8 p.m. ABC/ESPN/2
Nov. 1: Illinois
8 p.m. ABC/ESPN/2
Nov. 8: at Michigan State
Nov. 15: at Minnesota
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 29: Michigan