Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has always been one to focus on those who are ready to play, rather than make excuses about the players who aren't available.

The CU men's basketball team continues to take hits to its depth, however, and on Saturday had just eight healthy scholarship players during a 71-63 win against Utah at CU Events Center, as freshman guard Eli Parquet missed the game with a knee injury.

Parquet hyper-extended his knee in practice on Thursday, and the Buffs aren't sure when he'll return to the lineup.

"The good news is it's not an ACL," Boyle said. "I don't know if we'll have him next week or not. I'll know more on that probably on Monday."

CU already has three scholarship players out for the year — senior Namon Wright, junior Deleon Brown and sophomore Dallas Walton — while another, freshman Jakub Dombek, is redshirting.

Also this week, McKinley Wright missed two days of practice with the flu and Shane Gatling missed practice time with an infected toe.

"When I left this building on Thursday, we had six scholarship players that I could play, as long as I didn't take Jakub off of redshirt," Boyle said. "This week wasn't a great practice week, but the guys responded at 4 o'clock today and that's the most important thing.

"I'm never going to use it as an excuse, but we've had our fair share of adversity this year. But our guys have responded to it and they haven't put their heads down."


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Unfortunately, the adversity is part of the game and CU isn't alone in dealing with it, Boyle said.

"When you put teams together at this level, you put it together with the idea of depth and the ability to withstand (injuries)," Boyle said. "Arizona is going through the same thing. Oregon has lost a couple good players to injury. Injuries are a part of the game.

"You go into the season hopefully with enough bullets in your gun to win games in March. Now the reality is every team in America has fewer bullets in their gun. Guys have gotten hurt or they're nicked up."

CU hasn't been fully loaded all season, with Walton's torn right ACL on Oct. 16 being the first of the big hits to Boyle's roster.

Brown played just nine games this year because of academic issues. The Buffs haven't had the services of their best perimeter defender since Dec. 22.

Namon Wright — the Buffs' lone senior — played just 14 games this season before opting for season-ending foot surgery in January.

The Buffs also played a game and a half without McKinley Wright, who continues to play through an injured shoulder that will require offseason surgery.

Now, there's a chance they'll be without Parquet for a while.

"I don't really know when I'll be back yet," Parquet said after Saturday's game. "I just have to take it day by day with the doctor."

Parquet played 20 minutes - his highest total since Jan. 5 — in the Buffs' previous game, at Washington and Boyle was starting to lean on him a bit more as a perimeter defender.

"The coaches tell me every time I get on the court just lock up on defense and then everything else will come," he said.

Without him, the Buffs once again had players step up and fill the void. Boyle praised the perimeter defense of McKinley Wright in Saturday's wins and said sophomore D'Shawn Schwartz continues to improve.

With or without Parquet going forward, Boyle is looking to Gatling and freshman Daylen Kountz to step up defensively down the stretch.

"To me, McKinley and DeShawn are where they need to be defensively," Boyle said. "What we need to do is get Shane Gatling and Daylen Kountz defensively where they need to be, and now we'll be fine."

As long as more injuries don't occur, of course.

"Staying healthy and staying out of foul trouble will be critical for us coming down the stretch because you can only take so many hits before it starts effecting you winning games," Boyle said.

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