BOULDER — The injuries have been mounting all season, but the University of Colorado took a severe hit over the weekend, losing two starters in its 52-24 loss at Washington.
Junior inside linebacker Douglas Rippy suffered torn knee ligaments in the game and will undergo season-ending surgery in the near future, while his cousin, senior tailback Rodney Stewart, suffered a severely sprained knee that will keep him out of the lineup anywhere from two-to-four weeks, according to CU head coach Jon Embree.
Stewart is in pursuit of several CU career records, most notably rushing, all-purpose yards and yards from scrimmage, trailing his position coach, Eric Bieniemy, in all three categories. He’s within range of the latter two, but the rushing mark (3,940 yards) might be unattainable as he has 3,217 yards and needed to average 120.5 yards per game over the final six to catch Bieniemy.
Stewart leads the Buffs in rushing with 473 yards and is second in both receptions (28) and receiving yards (435); his 1,169 all-purpose yards, or 167.0 per game, rank 14th in the NCAA and represent 38 percent of CU’s team total (3,082) this season.
Rippy, Colorado’s leading tackler with 62, including three quarterback sacks, is the fourth player to be lost for the season due to injury; previously guard Blake Behrens (shoulder), cornerback Jered Bell (knee) and defensive end Tony Poremba (concussions) had their seasons come to an end. Behrens and Poremba are fifth-year seniors while Bell is a sophomore who had a redshirt year available. Offensive tackle Jack Harris (broken ankle) was injured against California, CU’s second game of the season, but he has a slim chance he could return for the final game or two.
Colorado has thus far in 2011 lost a total of 59 games to injury by players who figured in either the two-deep or prominently on special teams, or just under 20 percent of the possible 308 (seven games times 44). That projects to be the second-highest figure in the last 25 seasons at the school.
CU will also be without senior receiver Kyle Cefalo for this Saturday’s game against Oregon (1:30 p.m., FSN); he, too, suffered a knee sprain against Washington. Sophomore receiver Paul Richardson (knee), senior cornerback Brian Lockridge (ankle) and senior cornerback Travis Sandersfeld (leg) all remain out with injuries they sustained in earlier games.
The defense should regain the services of senior outside linebacker Josh Hartigan versus the Ducks, however, as he’s been nursing a stinger the last few weeks but did miss the UW contest. Offensively, senior lineman Shawn Daniels is nearly fully recovered from a calf injury he suffered in August camp and will see increased activity in practice.