Whenever Sefo Liufau was asked about his health this season, the Colorado quarterback smiled and said he was doing just fine.

On Tuesday, he admitted he wasn't always honest in those answers.

"I don't know about lying; more not telling the whole truth," he said with a smile.

With Liufau's latest injury, there's no need to hide anything.

The junior spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a Lisfranc injury to his left foot during a 27-24 loss to Southern California on Nov. 13 and confirmed that he's expecting at least six months of recovery.

"Knowing me, I'll try to push the timeline, but (the doctor) said six months right now," said Liufau, who had surgery on Friday.

Liufau said he did not break any bones in his foot but did tear a ligament.

Athletes with Lisfranc injuries have had varied periods of recovery time, so there's no telling how long Liufau will be out, but he's confident he will play again.

"It will take some time, but I can come back and be my normal self," he said. "I think I still have some time left to play football, hopefully, and I'm just going to do my best to rehab and focus on that and being able to walk again. I think that's the first step for me."

A three-year starter who is just 13 yards shy of CU's all-time passing record, Liufau said that when he does return he isn't expecting to be handed his starting job, but he does plan to fight for it.


Advertisement

"I expect to compete to earn my spot back," he said.

Exactly when he'll be able to compete is not known at this point. While he's hoping to be ready by the summer, it's not out of the question that Liufau uses 2016 as a redshirt season before returning in 2017.

"The main thing you have to look at is what his health is going to be (next season)," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "A Lisfranc is not a guarantee. That takes a while sometimes."

Throughout the season, Liufau dealt with injuries to his shoulder and wrist, plus various other ailments, but nothing had caused him to miss playing time. When a USC defender fell on Liufau's foot on the final play of the first quarter on Nov. 13, though, that was it.

"I kind of had a feeling that I think this one finally got me," he said. "After the game, we knew for sure when everyone looked at the X-rays and what I could and couldn't do with my foot. That's when I knew for sure."

It was a frustrating end to a frustrating season for Liufau.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder did run for a career-high 266 yards and threw a career-low six interceptions. He also saw his completion percentage dip to 62.2 percent and his touchdowns plummet from 28 in 2014 to nine this season.

Most frustrating, he and the Buffs won just four of the 11 games in which he played.

Liufau is hoping to use this injury and his recovery time to make himself and, ultimately the Buffs, better.

"It's not a chance for me to physically get better, but mentally you still have the opportunity to get better each and every day," he said.

When he does return, Liufau will face a battle for his job.

Redshirt freshman Cade Apsay has taken the reins of the offense in Liufau's absence and has already proven to be a more accurate passer than Liufau. Third-stringer Jordan Gehrke, a redshirt junior, will fight for the job as well.

Then there's true freshman Steven Montez, who many believe is the most talented quarterback on the roster.

If Liufau does start again, it'll be because he earned it and beat out the others, MacIntyre said.

"The competition factor elevates you to make you better," MacIntyre said. "He'll have a great opportunity to be our starter, but there's always a competition factor with any of the guys on our team."

It's a competition that Liufau will tackle with his usual determination.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.