Injured Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson won't play in the first two games of the season, coach Jon Embree told the Daily Camera today.

Richardson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a non-contact drill in spring ball and underwent surgery in mid-April. At the time, CU coaches and team doctors thought the Buffs' star offensive player had been lost for the season, but Richardson made surprising progress in his rehabilitation during the summer and he and Embree began talking optimistically in July about a return at some point this season.

Embree said that optimism remains, but it's unrealistic to think that Richardson could play in the season opener against Colorado State in less than two weeks (Sept. 1) when he hasn't practiced at all this month.

“He's not ready,” Embree said. “He hasn't run any routes really yet. He hasn't done any team work, timing, all those issues.

“He'll have to get some time with us – when I say us, I mean the players on the field – before we say, 'Yeah, he's ready to go.'”

Embree said Richardson likely will need at least a week of practice before he will be comfortable giving the junior from Los Angeles a thumbs-up to play. He said he will not play Richardson in the home opener Sept. 8 against Sacramento State, a team from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA)

Embree said it's possible Richardson could be ready for the Buffs' first road trip Sept. 15 to Fresno State. That is the final nonconference game of the season.

“We'll see what the doctors say,” Embree said after a morning practice today. “We'll see how they evaluate him and what his family says and how he looks.”

The Buffs begin Pac-12 Conference play Sept. 22 at Washington State. Richardson said in late July that he would like to return for the game against the Cougars because he wants to redeem himself for a costly second-half fumble in last season's game that he believes contributed to the Buffs losing at home.

“There is definitely a chip on my shoulder,” he said this summer. “I kind of take the blame for that game.”

Richardson said this summer that he was hoping to be ready to play some time in September. He said that would take away any dilemma in deciding whether or not he should play. He said if he can play in eight or nine conference games, he will definitely play this year. He said he might be inclined to sit out if he is available for fewer games.

Richardson said the most important aspect to deciding whether or not to play is whether doctors believe it's OK. He said the next most important factor is whether he can help his teammates get to a bowl game.

Richardson had this dialogue with the Camera in July.

“It will also go by how much my team needs me,” Richardson said. “If my team needs me and I can do it, I will do it. But if my team is doing well and to a certain extent they don't need me, I would just take that time to get better. Coming back in say 17 months is better than coming back in five.”

So if your team needs you and October arrives and you're feeling strong and you are cleared to play?

“I will play,” he said. “That's my word. I will play, Definite. Especially if they are starting off strong and it would be just like smart to play. Like say we get out of September with a really strong record. It would behoove me to play. I would definitely play and do just whatever I can to help me team win.”

Richardson was the Buffs' third leading receiver in 2011, despite playing in just nine games. He suffered a sprained knee in practice before the Stanford game and said he was used as a decoy once he returned for the final four games of the year because he wasn't completely healthy. He was really only healthy for five games in 2011, but he still caught 39 passes for 555 yards and five touchdowns.

He hasn't played a full season as a starter in either of his first two years in college. He said he would like to do so to see what kind of numbers he can put up and how that might impact his team.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleRingo