For the second time in his career, Jered Bell will miss a full season with a knee injury.
A fifth-year senior and Colorado's projected starter at free safety, Bell tore the ACL in his right knee during a practice on Friday night.
"That was a sad night last night for me," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said after the Buffaloes' scrimmage on Saturday.
For more than a week, Bell had been wearing a non-contact jersey because of an elbow injury suffered early in camp, but during Friday's practice, MacIntyre said Bell, "just ran and stopped and blew his knee out."
Bell, from Ontario, California, tore the ACL in his left knee early in camp in 2011 and missed that season, as well.
Because this will be the second complete season he will miss, Bell could apply for a hardship waiver and earn a sixth year of eligibility.
"I'm not the NCAA, but I'm almost positive he'd get a sixth year," MacIntyre said. "I would love for him to come back, but I also understand if he doesn't."
Bell has played in 36 games during his career, including 11 as a starting safety last season. He proved to be one of the Buffs' most reliable defenders in 2013, registering 67 tackles and intercepting three passes — including one he returned for a touchdown.
Bell was unavailable for comment Saturday, but several of his teammates expressed the disappointment they all felt in losing one of the team's most popular players.
"That's my best friend on the team, and I actually dropped a tear last night hearing the news and being with him," fellow senior Terrel Smith said. "It's tough losing a guy like that."
Senior cornerback Greg Henderson said: "It was real tough. Our spirits were down last night when they told us the news. We're going to miss him, but we have to keep moving forward."
Smith took Bell's spot with the first-team defense in Saturday's scrimmage, playing alongside Tedric Thompson. Several others, including Marques Mosley, Ryan Moeller and true freshmen Evan White could be in the mix for a starting role, too.
"Jered was a field safety type of guy, so we're going to need somebody to fill that void and then somebody move to boundary safety," said Smith, who is a captain and has 19 career starts at strong safety. "I'm battling for that spot. I'm just grinding, everybody is grinding out this camp."
Gillam, McCartney held out
Starting middle linebacker Addison Gillam and redshirt freshman defensive end Derek McCartney both sat out of Saturday's scrimmage with sprained AC joints in their shoulders.
Both players have been limited in practice the past several days because of their injuries, but MacIntyre hopes both are ready to go Monday.
"It's getting a lot better," Gillam said. "Movement is still really good, it's just a little sore. I don't want to push it."
Youth at end
The Buffs knew they'd be young at defensive end this season, but they were really young at that spot Saturday. True freshmen Michael Mathewes and Christian Shaver were the two ends with the first-team defense.
Injuries in camp to McCartney, Tyler Henington and Timothy Coleman played a role in that, but MacIntyre said, "Both of those guys are good, I think. We'll see next week how they handle everything when, 'Uh oh, we're really playing for real.'"
Coleman, a redshirt freshman, and sophomore Jimmie Gilbert played end with the second team defense.
"Definitely lots of young guys (at end), but as a linebacking corps, we have a lot of confidence in them," Gillam said.
Gillam added that Mathewes and Shaver have been "really impressive. They're just giving good effort."
Apsay in the mix
While sophomores Sefo Liufau and Jordan Gehrke are entrenched in the top two spots at quarterback, true freshman Cade Apsay had a solid day during Saturday's scrimmage. Among his highlights was a nice touchdown pass to Devin Ross.
"We gave Cade a lot of reps today at the end there because he needs to get some reps," MacIntyre said. "He was a little rusty, but as you can see on some of those, he can be extremely accurate. You just have to know exactly where to go with the ball."
With training camp now over, MacIntyre said the Buffs will begin next week with narrowing down who will be a part of the traveling squad. The coaches will then give those players more reps going forward. ... Freshman receiver Elijah Dunston (knee) and sophomore defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon (back) both sat out of Saturday's scrimmage. Both are expected to return soon. ... Linemen Brad Cotner and Sam Kronshage, tight end Dylan Keeney, linebacker Lance Cottrell and defensive linemen Markeis Reed and Thor Eaton also missed the scrimmage with injuries.