BOULDER - Junior quarterback Tyler Hansen was released from Boulder Community Hospital Thursday morning and remains hopeful of rejoining his University of Colorado teammates if they can reach postseason play.
Hansen, injured in the second quarter of CU's 27-24 loss against Texas Tech last weekend, said he felt "good - all things considered." After being diagnosed on Sunday as having a ruptured spleen, he underwent a procedure two days later that removed a portion of his spleen.
"When I checked in, they told me what could go wrong - and I was pretty scared," he said. "I guess you can live without your spleen, but I think it makes things pretty tough.
"I'm happy to have it - at least part of it. They took about an eighth of the spleen and shut it down for good, so an eighth of my spleen will not work forever."
He will have regularly scheduled CT scans for the next several weeks and per doctor's orders will not travel with the Buffs this weekend to Oklahoma (Saturday, 7:15 p.m. MDT, ESPN2). His doctors, said Hansen, "just want me to take it easy for the rest of the week and chill. But I'll be there (at Dal Ward early Friday afternoon) to tell the guys goodbye and good luck."
Hansen, the starter through the season's first seven games, plans to be on the sidelines for his team's final four games, including trips to Kansas (Nov. 6) and Nebraska (Nov. 26). He called his season-ending injury "disappointing . . . on Tuesday night I think shed a few tears, but that's natural. Hopefully we can finish out on a good note, and I want to be there the whole way through."
He termed returning for a bowl game "a possibility. (Doctors) said it takes about a month or month and a half to get it right again, so a bowl game is possible."
The Buffs, though, have to do their part without him by winning at least three of their final five games to reach the six wins needed for bowl eligibility. After losing three consecutive games, they currently are 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the Big 12 Conference.
Injured on an option pitch to tailback Rodney "Speedy" Stewart, Hansen said he was "totally exposed" to the hit that ruptured his spleen.
"I watched it (on a replay)," he said. "Both of my hands were out, I was looking the other way . . . I had no idea (it was coming). But it was kind of interesting. If I had carried out the option a little longer, I think I wouldn't have gotten hit. But that's just something that goes with the instincts of playing - you've just got to play."
Recounting the option pitch right, he said, "I saw all the blockers blocked up pretty well, so I figured get the ball to 'Speedy.' I was watching the pitch, watching him and making sure he had it, which is what you're supposed to do, and the guy hit me.
"(Tight end Ryan) Deehan was supposed to block him, but he took an angle expecting me to go wider with the option. I didn't. I stopped and I pitched it and then the guy snuck underneath (Deehan). It was just kind of a weird thing."
Hansen's parents (Pamela, Rick) were at the Tech game. His father, a high school coach/teacher in Southern California, stayed in Boulder through Sunday, but his mother has remained all week.
Hansen will be replaced Saturday at OU by senior backup Cody Hawkins. Hansen's only advice to Hawkins: "Good luck and have fun. That's the biggest thing - have fun. Playing at Oklahoma, that's a great atmosphere. Go out and enjoy it."
SOLDER AMONG NFF NATIONAL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE FINALISTS: CU senior left tackle Nate Solder is among 16 recipients of the NFF (National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame) National Scholar-Athlete Awards. One of the 16 will receive the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, which is endowed by HealthSouth and recognizes the player as the best scholar-athlete in the nation.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award includes an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship and a trip to New York for the announcement of the overall winner and presentation of the 25-pound bronze Campbell Trophy. The winner receives an additional $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
"It's a great, great honor," said Solder, a preseason All-America selection from Buena Vista. "And the trip to New York is pretty great in itself."
Solder, a focal point for NFL scouts who have been streaming into Boulder since the season began, has maintained a 3.51 GPA in biology. The other 15 scholar-award winners joining him in New York will be defensive end Sam Acho (Texas, 3.55, business), offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (Boston College, 3.45, biochemistry), quarterback Ben Chappell (Indiana, 3.70, accounting), linebacker Alex Gross (Columbia, 3.58, sociology), fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic (Stanford, 3.47, human biology), quarterback Greg McElroy (Alabama, 3.83, business marketing), linebacker Mike Mohamed (California, 3.43, business), linebacker Travis Nissley (Bucknell, 3.96, mechanical engineering), running back Isaac Odim (Minnesota-Duluth, 3.85, mechanical engineering), quarterback Christian Ponder (Florida State, 3.73, finance), offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State, 3.54, business), guard Chris Stewart (Notre Dame, 3.54, history), quarterback Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin, 3.50, consumer affairs), halfback Ben Wartman (Saint Thomas, Minn., 3.89, finance) and guard Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State, 3.91, secondary education).
NFF President and CEO Steven J. Hatchell, a CU alumnus, said his organization is "ecstatic about the quality of this year's remarkable National Scholar-Athlete Class. They stand as a testament to our mission of building leaders through football. From top to bottom, this group has established itself as one of the greatest in the 50-plus years of this program, boasting an impressive array of academic and athletic achievements. We look forward to presenting each of them an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship to further their education, as there are no limits to what these young men will accomplish following their football careers."
Solder and the other 15 finalists were selected from a national pool of 121 semifinalists that included scholar-athletes from all NCAA divisions and the NAIA. Castonzo, Odim, Solder, Wartman, and Wisniewski have the distinction of being All-America selections, and 14 of the 16 players - including Solder - are team captains.
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in the history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Past National Scholar-Athletes include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida).
"The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons Peyton (Campbell winner) and Eli were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "They have balanced practice with difficult majors like mechanical engineering and biology. They've also taken their passion for helping others beyond their local communities, taking medical and mission trips overseas to help those less fortunate than themselves. They are prime role models for future generations of young men in this country."
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.
The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class will be honored at the 2010 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes former CU defensive end Alfred Williams.
Solder is a three-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and was recognized for having the highest GPA on the CU team. He was a 2009 ESPN The Magazine All-District pick and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection as a junior.