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Injury report: When will Colorado’s star hoopers return?

The Buffs could be getting some important pieces back this week

NCAA Basketball: Iona at Colorado Chet Strange-USA TODAY Sports

Despite what their record from the last week might suggest, this Colorado team is hurt to hell and back. The Buffs beat both Washington and Washington State without 2 of their best 3 players and 4-5 key players in their rotation last weekend, cementing themselves as one of the scariest teams within the Pac-12. CU will be a forced to be reckoned with when they reach full health, but when will that be?

Cody Williams, Wrist Injury

Cody Williams has burst onto the scene in Boulder this season. The expectations were high for the five-star recruit out of Arizona and Williams has managed to surpassed them all. Williams is easily one of Colorado’s top three players, but the team has been without him for the last three or so weeks due to a nagging wrist injury.

Ever since Colorado’s statement win against Miami in Brooklyn, Cody has been wearing a wrist brace while in warmups and on the bench. Before last Sunday’s game against Wazzu, Williams was warming up with no brace on his wrist and was putting on an absolute show. Williams’ healing is seemly progressing really well and he looks to be back very shortly.

A source at ESPN stated that Cody will likely return sometime this week, so we might see the star freshman and NBA lottery pick play when the Buffs’ take on #10 Arizona in Tucson on Thursday.

Tristan da Silva, Ankle Injury

It came as a big shock when da Silva came out of the tunnel for warmups before the Washington game in street clothes and holding a crutch. Something looked off with da Silva’s ankle, which was confirmed to be correct by Tad postgame.

With about five minutes left of practice on Thursday, Tristan twisted his ankle in a non-contact accident. Tad made didn’t confirm what the official diagnosis of da Silva’s injury was, but he made it seem like he probably sprained his ankle.

The good news is that Tad didn’t make it sound very serious. While Colorado’s coach said the timetable for return is still unknown, da Silva should be back with the team sooner rather than later. I’m no expert on ankle injuries, so take this with a grain of salt, but it sounded like we could be Tristan return sometime in the next 2 weeks if all goes smoothly.

RJ Smith, Lower-Leg Injury

Smith started the season as a key bench contributor for the Buffs. Smith’s shooting, especially his three ball, was a massive asset for a Colorado team that can sometimes struggle to hit their shots. We learned that Smith came down with some sort of lower-leg injury earlier in December, but we got some even worse news last Friday.

After the Buffs’ win on Friday, Tad told the media that Smith will not be returning for the remainder of the season. Smith and the team will be applying for a medical redshirt at the conclusion on the season, which will likely get granted. Smith’s injury leaves Colorado with even less guard depth, which was already very low before Smith got hurt. We wish RJ a speedy and smooth recovery.

Bangot Dak, Illness

Before Colorado’s game against Washington, it was announced that Dak wouldn’t be able to play due to coming down with a minor illness. Dak was expected to return against Wazzu on Sunday, but was still too ill to play.

Tad made no big deal about Dak’s illness in pressers and made it seem like it was nothing major. Dak has 4 days to rest up before the Buffs’ take on the Wildcats, so I think it’s a safe bet to see him return to play in Tucson.

Dak was expected to redshirt this season, but that may not be an option anymore due to Colorado’s large amount of injuries. We’ll have to see how Dak’s playtime situation continues to play out in 2024.

Assane Diop, Unknown

Diop played nine minutes in Friday’s win over Washington, but sat the entire game against the Cougars. Joe Hurlburt came off the bench in place of Assane, which took many wtahcing the game by surprise.

Diop may be dealing with an undisclosed injury or illness, or perhaps Tad just opted for Hurlburt’s skillset over the true-freshman. Nobody knows why Diop didn’t play against the Cougs, especially when the team was so shorthanded. Hopefully Diop is just fine and we can expect to see him off the bench against Arizona next week.