In the three weeks since Spencer Dinwiddie tore the ACL in his left knee, it has become very apparent that the Colorado men's basketball team is a different team without him.

Barely an afterthought to any talk of Dinwiddie's Jan. 12 injury is the fact that the Buffaloes lost another player that day.

Freshman Tre'Shaun Fletcher injured his left knee about a minute after Dinwiddie's injury. Because Fletcher didn't get a lot of minutes - 10.2 per game - his loss has been overshadowed.

"Nobody is talking about that," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Absolutely it is (overlooked)."

CU (16-6, 5-4 Pac-12) is just 2-4 since Dinwiddie and Fletcher got hurt. Although Fletcher was just a role player off the bench, there's little doubt he would have seen his role increase dramatically with Dinwiddie out, and possibly made the difference in a game or two.

"It hurts two-fold, because, No. 1 Tre'Shaun would be getting invaluable experience now and minutes that he can't because he's not playing," Boyle said. "And, it gives us one less perimeter defender, one less perimeter shooter, one less perimeter ball handler on the floor, with size."

The 6-foot-7 Fletcher is an exceptional athlete who was becoming more comfortable on offense and, more importantly, on defense.


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"I feel like I could have really helped out the team and been an extra body to help fill some of the big shoes that (Dinwiddie) left for us," said Fletcher said, who has averaged 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game this season.

Instead, Fletcher, who had surgery on Jan. 20 (the same day Dinwiddie had his surgery) has spent his days trying to get healthy. Fletcher said he tore the MCL and meniscus in his left knee.

"I'm just trying to get my motion back," he said. "Trying to get the swelling out."

Unlike Dinwiddie, there is hope for Fletcher to return this season. He was initially told he could miss six to eight weeks, which potentially puts him back on the court for CU's final few regular season games and the postseason.

Fletcher said there is no timetable for his return, but if he does come back, he hopes to make an impact.

"I'm not going to force anything," he said. "I'm just going to try to give good energy, do what I can and rebound and play hard on defense."

Helping out

CU forward Josh Scott has been a consistent and dominant performer all season. On Saturday, he was pleased to see fellow forwards Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon step up during a 79-75 overtime win against Utah. That duo combined for 23 points and 16 rebounds on 7-for-15 shooting. Johnson posted a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds).

"When they're aggressive with offensive rebounding and engaged and trying to get the ball, it takes a whole lot of pressure off of me," said Scott, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Utes. "It was big-time. I can't really say how much it helps me out, because it's a lot."

Giving points away

Utah turned 15 Buffs' turnovers into 24 points on Saturday. That continued a disturbing trend for CU.

In the six games since Dinwiddie and Fletcher got hurt, CU has posted 16.5 turnovers per game, with opponents scoring an average of 23.8 points off of those miscues. Five of those opponents got at least 20 points in that category. The other - Southern Cal - got 19 points.

Compare that to the first 16 games of the season, when CU had 12.4 turnovers per game, resulting in just 12.3 points per game for the opposition. Only three of those opponents had as many 20 points off turnovers.

Notable

CU out-scored the Utes 17-7 in second-chance points. The Buffs are 13-2 this season when winning that category, losing only to Baylor and Washington. ... Guard Askia Booker is averaging 5.5 assists during the past four games. He averaged 1.8 assists during the first 86 games of his career.

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/brianhowell33.