University of Colorado two-way football star Travis Hunter has missed the team's past two games because of a liver injury, and his absence is not likely to end in the near future.
Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders told reporters Tuesday that Hunter is two to three weeks away from a return and that he would "love" for his star to remain out through Colorado's bye week. That would mean Hunter may not return to the lineup until October 28 against UCLA.
Previously, ESPN's Kyle Bonagura and Adam Rittenberg reported that Hunter could return "possibly as early as this week" for the Buffaloes' road game against Arizona State.
After starring at both wide receiver and cornerback in Colorado's first two games of the season, Hunter suffered a lacerated liver on a late hit by Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn.
Hunter missed Colorado's 42-6 loss to Oregon and 48-41 loss to USC, although Hunter pushed hard to play against USC, per Rittenberg, texting head coach Deion Sanders, "I need to play this week. We need to get everything we can so I can get back on the field. I'm not taking no for an answer."
Along with quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who is Deion's son, Hunter followed Coach Prime from FCS Jackson State to Colorado and made an instant impact.
In the Buffs' 45-42 season-opening road win over TCU, Hunter went off for 11 receptions for 119 yards on offense and also recorded an acrobatic interception on defense.
That performance garnered Hunter some Heisman Trophy buzz, and he followed it up with another solid showing in a home win over Nebraska. He finished with three catches for 73 yards as well as four tackles and one pass defended.
Hunter got injured in the first half of the double-overtime win over Colorado State, and although he went back into the game afterward, he was taken to the hospital at halftime and did not return.
With Hunter on the shelf for the past two weeks, Colorado has arguably been without its best offensive weapon and defensive back.
That may not have made much of a difference in the blowout road loss to Oregon, but it is fair to wonder if the Buffaloes would have been able to complete their comeback against USC last weekend with Hunter on the field.
Colorado was the talk of the college football and sports world in general when it went 3-0 out of the gates after going just 1-11 last season.
While the hype has cooled to some degree after two consecutive losses, the Buffaloes showed a ton of fight against the Trojans last week and still have a chance to re-establish themselves as a bowl team and possibly even a ranked team.
Arizona State is off to a 1-4 start, so Colorado should be the favorite even without Hunter, but there is little doubt that the return of such a top-notch athlete will inject some much-needed life into the Buffaloes once he is cleared.