Ohio State football: Justin Fields offers no update on knee as Buckeyes prep for Tigers

The biggest question for Ohio State heading into the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Clemson was not answered Thursday.

Two days after telling reporters his left knee was 80 to 85 percent healthy, Justin Fields had no update during Fiesta Bowl media day Thursday.

“I’m not going to talk about my knee today,” the sophomore quarterback said.

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Although he nodded when asked if he is “moving well,” he would not say if he was feeling better.

“I’m not going to talk about my knee today at all,” he repeated. “They don’t want me to talk about my knee.”

A transfer from Georgia, Fields led the Buckeyes to a 13-0 record, Big Ten championship and No. 2 position in the final CFP rankings.

He is fourth in the nation in passer rating and threw 40 touchdown passes with one interception.

Fields has 10 rushing touchdowns, but his mobility has been somewhat limited since he suffered a knee injury late in a win over Penn State on Nov. 23.

He aggravated the injury during Ohio State’s 56-27 win at Michigan a week later, then went into the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin admittedly less than 100 percent.

Although head coach Ryan Day and his staff have relied less upon Fields’ running than predecessor Urban Meyer did with most of his quarterbacks, having that tool in the toolbox remains an important part of the overall package for the Buckeye offense.

“They’re talented across the board and they’re deep,” Clemson linebacker James Skalski said of the Ohio State scoring unit that led the nation at 48.7 points per game. “Very, very deep. They have a great quarterback who leads the way for them. J.K. Dobbins is a great player. Physical offensive line. Good, talented receivers. Great tight ends. There is no weakness for them. They’ve been punishing teams all year. So it is going to be a challenge and we’re excited to take it on.”

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Clemson safety Tanner Muse said Fields’ ability to run is what separates him from others at his position.

“I think his legs are what make him an elite player,” Muse said. “I think he’s a very good, very great quarterback, precision quarterback, but his legs make him elite. Being able to do both is very tough for a defense. Very, very tough.”

As such, containing him will be priority No. 1 for the Tigers, who led the nation in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense.

“All the D-line, they want to make sacks. They want to be the guy getting to celebrate,” Muse said. “They’ve got to make sure they understand that we have to keep them in the wraps where you can’t get out and extend plays. They do a great job of just extending plays, scrambled drill, the receiver getting open.”

He also predicted Fields will not be limited physically when the lights go on Saturday night.

“I think he’ll do fine,” Muse said. “You think of student-athletes, we’re kind of superhuman. We’re always banged up. But when you get these two weeks off, we just kind of seem to boom, miraculously feel better. Just time off. Time with your family does wonders. I think he’ll be just fine. I think we’ll see a prime version of Justin Fields, and we have to be ready for him.”

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