COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Ohio State coach Jim Tressel swears that tailback Chris ``Beanie'' Wells will be back this season. Tressel either doesn't know or isn't saying for sure when that will be.
Wells, sidelined since hurting his right foot in the season opener against Youngstown State, is still taking baby steps with getting ready to play in a game. He has run through some drills with the rest of the Buckeyes running backs, but has not faced contact and has not done much other than gingerly running in a straight line.
``I did see him sweating,'' tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator John Peterson said with a grin after Wednesday night's practice. ``I saw a bunch of sweat on his head. So that was a good sign.''
e closed to media.
Team spokeswoman Shelly Poe would only confirm that Wells practiced.
Tressel said at his weekly news conference on Tuesday that Wells is questionable for the 13th-ranked Buckeyes game Saturday game against Troy, but added that Wells had been participating in conditioning and workouts.
``Beanie's still in a day-to-day evaluation process,'' Peterson said.
Asked if Wells' mysterious injury - no Ohio State official has given its exact nature or severity, and Wells has not been permitted to speak to reporters - might require surgery, Tressel said no. Asked if there's a chance Wells might miss the rest of the season, Tressel answered, ``I have not heard that once.''
Several Ohio State players have said Wells is looking and feeling better every day.
But if Wells is close to being ready to go, that's news to Ben Person. And Person starts at right guard on Ohio State's offensive line.
``I don't think he even practiced,'' he said after Tuesday's practice.
Yet safety Kurt Coleman, while conceding that Wells did not participate in team workouts, gushed about the possibility of Wells returning.
Tressel and several members of his coaching staff said last week that they were encouraged by Wells' workouts on Monday. But when asked to do more in Tuesday's practice, he was extremely sore.
With Wells watching from the sideline the last two games, Ohio State has not been able to run the ball effectively. In a tight 26-14 comeback win over Ohio two weeks ago, starter Dan Herron, Brandon Saine and Maurice Wells combined for 113 yards on 26 carries.
Then in Saturday night's deflating 35-3 defeat at top-ranked Southern California, those three mustered 59 yards on 14 attempts.
``I think our guys have confidence in Danny Herron and Brandon Saine and Mo Wells,'' Tressel said.
Herron, a redshirt freshman, has started both games that Wells has missed. He said the team missed Wells, but needed to get past that.
``We have a great group of running backs,'' he said. ``Of course, (Beanie) is a great part. But we're all working hard. The team is taking it all on.''
Wells' status has reinforced Troy's confidence coming into Ohio Stadium.
``With Beanie (playing for Ohio State), I think we've got a good chance,'' Trojans safety Tavares Williams said. ``Without Beanie, I think we've got a great chance to win. It takes away what they want to do and that's come out and power it right at us.''

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