Gonzaga. Arizona. Oregon State. Texas A&M. Iowa State.

No. 1 Kansas?

Shannon Sharpe can`t help but wonder how many of these difficult losses would have been sweet victories for the Buffs if he were healthy.

Before the season started, it was Sharpe -- even more than Alec Burks -- who was the true freshman being talked about as a potential impact player for Colorado.

Jeff Bzdelik had planned to split the minutes at point guard between Sharpe and sophomore Nate Tomlinson.

And then Sharpe went down with a knee injury moments into his first official practice at CU in October. Just four months after microfracture surgery he can see the light at the end of the rehab tunnel.

"I`ll be Shannon Sharpe again in mid-April or May," Sharpe said before Thursday`s practice.

CU freshman Shannon Sharpe says he could be ready to begin playing again as early as April 1.
CU freshman Shannon Sharpe says he could be ready to begin playing again as early as April 1. ( Jonathan Castner )

Sharpe has been told that he could be medically cleared to start playing basketball again as early as April 1. He has been running stairs and making cuts to get the knee stronger and will be fitted with a brace next week that will allow him to go through shooting drills with teammates.

"Things are going real good. I feel great," Sharpe said.

The Buffs are currently 11-12 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12. The team has made some progress in Bzdelik`s third season but obviously could have used Sharpe`s athleticism as Sherron Collins was blowing through the lane during crunch time to help the Jayhawks escape Boulder with an overtime victory.

"They`ve had some tough losses, but we need to just keep playing hard and finish this last half of the season strong," Sharpe said.


"Next year, I envision us being better, more mature, stronger, faster ... a lot better. Winning the close games and all that."

CU will look to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday against No. 9 Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum (4 p.m., Altitude).