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Colorado Buffaloes injury report ahead of Arizona

Five CU players went down in Tempe on two weeks ago and hit a bye week at the right time

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Colorado at Arizona State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes welcomed a bye week after upsetting the 24th-ranked Arizona State due to several injuries. It’s too soon to tell, but here’s a current status for the Buffs’ Oct. 5’s game against Arizona.

Mustafa Johnson — ankle (doubtful)

Johnson will be a “game time decision” on Saturday vs. Arizona, according to head coach Mel Tucker who spoke to the media on Monday. Johnson went down early vs. Arizona State with an injured leg and was carted off the field. He returned to the sidelines in a walking boot. Johnson entered the game vs. the Sun Devils as the Pac-12 sack leader with three. Colorado can’t replace his disruption, so we will have to wait and see if can play, and if not, we will see how the Buffs intend on using the defensive line.

Laviska Shenault Jr. — Undisclosed (questionable)

Like Johnson, Shenault was also listed as a “game time decision” by Tucker. The star wideout was taken out of the game in the first quarter and didn’t return. This is not a good sign for CU considering Shenault missed significant time last season due to a leg injury and didn’t fully recover down the stretch. If there is a positive, however, it’s the CU should be able to move the ball on Arizona with or without Shenault. Hiding Shenault’s status may be a move to distract Kevin Sumlin’s game plan.

Mikial Onu — Leg (questionable)

Onu left the ASU game and returned. It’s unclear if the Buffs defensive back will suit up against Arizona, but if he returned against the Sun Devils, it’s probably okay to assume he’s going to be back. Onu leads the nation with five forced turnovers and is a crucial piece of the defense.

Chris Miller — Knee (doubtful)

Tucker and the rest of the Buffs coaching staff is considered about Miller’s status going forward. The Buffs defensive back appeared to injure his knee in the second half vs. ASU and did not return to the game. During Monday’s press conference Tucker also called Miller’s situation a “game time decision,” but Tucker said he’s the furthest away in his recovery, so it’s unlikely we see him.

Delrick Abrams Jr. — Shoulder (questionable)

Abrams was nursing a shoulder injury throughout the game. He was not listed in the injury report, so it’s likely he plays, but it’s not official.

Arizona’s Injuries

The Arizona Wildcats could be coming to Boulder without two of their most important players in the lineup. Quarterback Khalil Tate and running back J.J. Taylor missed last week’s Pac-12 opener vs. UCLA due to injuries. Tate, one of college football’s most exciting players, is nursing a bad hamstring and Taylor injured his lower right leg in the 28-14 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 14. Arizona defeated UCLA, 20-17, on Saturday night behind backup QB Grant Gunnell, who completed 29-of-44 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown to earn Pac-12 freshman of the week honors.

AU coach Kevin Sumlin was uncertain about when asked about the injuries to Tate and Taylor after the game saying, “We’re not going to put those guys in harm’s way with the type of injuries that they have. Those guys can be explosive players. When you have ankles or leg injuries like that, what you don’t want is for something that just nags on (them) for the whole year. We’ll assess that throughout the week.”

Colorado knows what Arizona’s “QB No. 2” can do coming off the bench. It was Tate that sparked an FBS record performance on the Buffs two years ago in place of an injured Brandon Dawkins. The dual-threat backup quarterback accounting for 481 yards of total offense (327 rushing, 154 passing) and five touchdowns on the way to a 45-42 win for the Wildcats.