Ohio State football wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. (Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch)

Ohio State football wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. (Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch)

Ohio State football is having to take on Notre Dame without their biggest weapon with Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the sidelines with an apparent injury.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is an impact player for Ohio State football.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, his impact was in his absence on Saturday as they faced off with Notre Dame in the season opener.

Smith-Njigba started the game but took a hit early and came out of the game. His status unknown, he was spotted on the sidelines in the first half without a helmet while being monitored by a trainer.

Late in the half, he put his helmet back on and got back into the game.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba injury update: Star WR has apparent injury

Jaxon Smith-Njigba had been on the stationary bike after taking that big sideline hit. He now is standing at the 20 and is running quick sprints without his helmet. If Buckeyes don’t have him, well, you know what a loss that is.

— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 4, 2022

Jaxon Smith-Njigba still being evaluated by Ohio State’s medical staff as the Buckeyes’ offense returns to the field. Jayden Ballard still in the game at wide receiver with Emeka Egbuka in the slot.

— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 4, 2022

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Jaxon Smith-Njigba is on the sideline by the south end zone without a helmet trying to get in some sprints and testing himself out. So far, it doesn’t seem to be trending in a positive direction for him.

— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) September 4, 2022

Smith-Njigba looks like he’s going in. Helmet is on as Buckeyes huddle during the timeout.

— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) September 4, 2022

The hit that apparently prompted Smith-Njigba’s exit was to his head but it’s not clear if that’s the issue or if something else is bothering him.

Whatever it is, it was not an ideal moment for the star wide receiver to be unavailable.

The Buckeyes are trying to start their 2022 season off with a statement victory against the Irish. Without Smith-Njigba on the field, the offense wasn’t exactly lighting things up. They trailed Notre Dame 10-8 late in the second quarter.

Smith-Njigba had 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021. He came into the 2022 season as a Biletnikoff Award contender as the top receiver in a receiving corps absolutely loaded with talent.

The Buckeyes have to balance their need to have him on the field against a stout opponent with the desire to keep him healthy for the remainder of the campaign.

His situation is one to watch as the game goes on.

Update: After coming out of the locker room for halftime, it was announced on the broadcast that Smith-Njigba would miss the remainder of the game against the Irish. That’s a huge blow for a Buckeyes team that was trailing at halftime.

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