During the past few weeks, the Colorado men's basketball team has slowly adjusted to life without Spencer Dinwiddie.
The main question around this program, however, has been: How long will the Buffaloes be without their star point guard?
Right now, that's a question without an answer.
Dinwiddie, a junior from Woodland Hills, Calif., tore the ACL in his left knee on Jan. 12 at Washington. His season is over, yet not even he knows whether his college career is over.
"It's still my dream to go (to the NBA), and that's no secret," Dinwiddie said this week. "Everybody knew that if I hadn't gotten hurt, I was going to leave."
Prior to his injury, Dinwiddie was having a stellar season. He averaged 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while leading the Buffs to a 14-2 record and a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press poll. At the time, Dinwiddie was considered by many draft pundits as a solid first-round pick and perhaps even a lottery pick.
Now, some mock drafts don't even include Dinwiddie as a second-round pick. Two analysts on CBSSports.com list Dinwiddie as an early second-round selection.
It's not the draft analysts that Dinwiddie is concerned with, though. He will submit a draft evaluation to the NBA and wait for those results. He also has people in his circle — including CU coach Tad Boyle — who have plenty of contacts in the NBA, and Dinwiddie will wait to hear the feedback he gets from all of those sources.
"Spencer's decision will be a personal one," Boyle said. "My role is going to be there to support him, having him look at all the angles and try to get as much information as I can get, or make sure that the information that he's getting is valid and real. That's the hardest thing, I think, with where Spencer is right now, is getting reliable, dependable, trustworthy information."
Once he gets the information he needs, Dinwiddie will figure out where to go from there.
"If I can be confident that it's going to be a first-round type of thing, then I'd leave," he said. "If they're not sure and talking second round or middle of the second round, I'll be back (at CU).
"There was no doubt in my mind (before the injury) that the first round was going to be — it was where, not if. Now, it's an if, and I can't take an if."
Should he get a first-round grade, Dinwiddie said his decision to go to the NBA will be an easy one.
"If I do leave and a team has that type of faith, at the very least I give myself the best possible chance at rehab, I get to treat my rehab truly like a job," he said. "And, if I'm in that first round area then I still get to do everything I wanted to do (financially)."
Dinwiddie has always been confident in his ability, and that has not wavered since his injury. The only question in his mind is whether the NBA will view him the same way he views himself.
"I truly, in my heart, don't think that there's a better (point guard) in the country," he said. "It just depends on whether an NBA team has faith in that and if they want to pay for the rehab and trust that I'm going to have a full recovery and be more athletic.
"Do I think a team will see it? I honestly do. There will probably be four or five PGs taken in the first round. I don't think the league as a whole thinks that there's four or five better than me."
If the NBA doesn't see it that way right now, Dinwiddie could very well be back at Colorado.
"I have to have good solid information (to leave), and if I don't then I'll be back in a CU Buff uniform trying to win 35 games and a national championship," he said.
Most pundits believe that if Dinwiddie does return, the Buffs can be a top-10 program. He's heard that, and knows the potential of the 2014-15 team if he's a part of it.
"It does (excite me)," he said of that prospect. "The crazy part is that's exactly what me and coach talked about in my living room four years ago when I was a high school senior: Coming back junior year, senior year and being Top 25, being Top 10, being nationally recognized, playing a national schedule. To have done that in this time is really a blessing."
When talking to Dinwiddie, though, there's no question what his heart wants. He loves CU and his teammates, but wants to live his dream by playing in the NBA. He wants the salary that will pay off the preschool his mother owns and allow him to buy his little brother a car.
And, now that he has suffered a major injury, Dinwiddie sounds like a young man who wants to be in the NBA even more than he did before.
"There's always the chance that I don't come back the same," he said. "If that happens, that means I'm a European player, which hurts. If I come back (to CU) and I'm not the same and I play my way all the way off the (NBA) table, then I'm not even going to get a shot.
"I have no doubt that I'm going to be the same player, but the fear of getting hurt again is definitely going to be there. If I were to come back and get hurt again, then it's over. That becomes such an uphill battle (to get to the NBA at that point)."
Dinwiddie has until April 27 to make his decision. That's the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA Draft. He turns 21 on April 6 and said he plans to make a decision sometime between his birthday and the deadline.
This decision will not be based on what his heart wants, or what the hearts of CU fans want, however. It'll be about what's best for his future.
"You can't take that chance and be a mid-second round pick that has to try to fight for a position on a bad wheel," he said. "You can't do that. That's a death wish.
"It's all about making the smart decision. I'm not going to jump out there on a blind leap of faith."