Colorado men's basketball players Spencer Dinwiddie and Tre'Shaun Fletcher both underwent successful knee surgeries on Monday in Lone Tree.
"I spoke to the doctor; both surgeries went well and we expect them both to make complete recoveries," CU head coach Tad Boyle said.
Dinwiddie tore the ACL in his left knee on Jan. 12, during the first half of a 71-54 loss at Washington. Fletcher was injured about a minute later. He also hurt his left knee, although CU has never revealed the specific injury.
Dinwiddie, the Buffs' standout junior point guard, is out for the season. Fletcher, a true freshman reserve, was originally expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, but it's possible he could be back sooner than that.
"We hope so," Boyle said. "A lot of that will depend on the rehab and how it goes. We're hoping four-to-six weeks on him.
"Spencer's surgery went well and the doctors expect a full recovery. Good news on both of them."
For the past week, the Buffs have been adjusting to life without both players, but without Dinwiddie in particular. Dinwiddie had started 86 consecutive games and he leads the team in scoring (14.7 points per game), assists (3.8 per game) and minutes played (31.1 per game). He also led the team in free throw attempts (119) and had the highest free-throw percentage on the team, at 85.7 percent.
Including Monday afternoon's practice, the Buffs have now had four full practices and two games without their star.
"I think the guys understand now that he's not here; Fletch isn't here," Boyle said. "I think we're past that mental hurdle. The shock value has worn off."
In addition to his stellar statistics, Dinwiddie brought exceptional leadership. Boyle said this week's road trip to No. 1 Arizona and Arizona State will tell where the Buffs are in that regard.
"Leadership is tested when things aren't going good. Against UCLA (last Thursday), I'm not sure it was as good as it needed to be," Boyle said. "We'll find out on this road trip when we're tested and our backs are against the wall. It's going to continue to be a challenge."
Fletcher averages just 3.5 points and 10.2 minutes per game, but had been developing into a key defender off the bench.
"It's just that one less perimeter guy," Boyle said. "It's put a lot more pressure on Xavier Johnson and Jaron Hopkins defensively, because (Fletcher) is that extra big wing that defensively was getting better.
"That length on the defensive end at the wing position is where we really miss Tre'Shaun. As long as Xavier Johnson is playing well and Jaron is playing well defensively it won't hurt us."
After six straight weeks of being in the national Top 25 rankings, the Buffs dropped out on Monday.
In addition to losing Dinwiddie, the Buffs lost two games in a row, both by double figures before recovering to beat Southern Cal last Saturday.
On Monday, the Buffs received 26 points in the Associated Press poll, good for 30th. They dropped from No. 21 a week earlier. CU came in with the 28th-most points in the USA Today Coaches' poll, dropping from No. 22 a week ago.
Monday wasn't a stellar practice for the Buffs. "It might have been our worst," Boyle said. "Thank God we didn't play today." ... Despite their drop from the national polls, the Buffs are holding strong in the RPI rankings. CU was at No. 18 on Monday, according to realtimerpi.com.