Colorado has lost its most dependable offensive lineman for the rest of the season.
Sophomore guard/center Tim Lynott, Jr., suffered a torn Achilles tendon early in the second quarter of the Buffaloes' 41-30 loss at Arizona State on Saturday night.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre gave the official news on Monday and said Lynott will have surgery on Wednesday.
"He'll definitely be out for spring ball," MacIntyre said. "We'll get him back in the summer before camp and he'll be ready to go in camp, I was told, full speed."
The news on safety Ryan Moeller was more encouraging. The senior went down in the second half at ASU with an apparent leg injury, and MacIntyre feared the worst that night. On Monday, however, he said there's a chance Moeller could return this season.
"We're still holding out hope," MacIntyre said.
Unfortunately for Lynott, the focus is now on a long rehabilitation process with an eye on next year.
"Really tough for Timmy," MacIntyre said. "He was really playing well and that hurts our offensive line, to say the least."
Lynott is the only player to start on the offensive line for each of CU's 24 games over the past two years. He started all 14 games in 2016 at right guard, and has made six starts at that position this year.
Saturday's game at ASU was Lynott's fourth start at center this year, as he has filled in at times for injured senior Jonathan Huckins. Lynott started the past two games at center with Huckins recovering from a concussion, but Huckins, who was cleared last week, replaced Lynott in the lineup on Saturday.
"Tim's a warrior," quarterback Steven Montez said after the game Saturday. "Whatever (the injury) is I'm sure he'll come back stronger than ever. I definitely know he'll come back stronger than he was."
Going forward, the Buffs are used to shuffling pieces on their offensive line, and will have to do that more without Lynott.
As long as he's healthy, Huckins figures to start at center. Aaron Haigler figures to remain at right guard, where he has played when Lynott has filled in at center. Haigler has 10 career starts at right tackle and four at guard this season.
Seniors Jeromy Irwin (left tackle) and Gerrad Kough (left guard) are likely to continue in those roles, while the Buffs could go with either Isaac Miller or Josh Kaiser at right tackle. Miller had started four consecutive games at right tackle, but Kaiser got the start against ASU.
CU's depth up front will be tested if there are any more injuries.
Sophomore Brett Tonz, a converted defensive lineman, will be the backup center, while also serving as the top backup at guard. He has played 63 snaps on offense this season.
After Tonz, next up for the Buffs could be sophomore Dillon Middlemiss, who has yet to play an offensive snap this year.