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Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado got some good news on the linebacker front this week, as well as some bad news.
On Tuesday, Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre announced that junior linebacker Addison Gillam will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Buffs will, however, get junior Kenneth Olugbode back this week, which is much sooner than expected.
“We had one that didn’t go as good and we had another one that did,” MacIntyre said.
Gillam injured his knee against Massachusetts on Sept. 12 and hasn’t played since. After the Colorado State game on Sept. 19, MacIntyre said he had hoped to have Gillam back for the start of Pac-12 play, Oct. 3, against Oregon. It’s been a week-to-week process to this point, but Gillam will have season-ending surgery “in his cartilage area,” MacIntyre said, on Friday.
“You always had that hope, and now we don’t have that hope anymore,” MacIntyre said. “But we’ll have him back next fall.”
In 2013, Gillam became the first freshman to ever lead CU in tackles, with 119. He battled injuries in 2014, but still finished second on the team with 79 tackles.
Although he made just six tackles this year, he was playing well before getting hurt. After the UMass game, Gillam had his knee scoped and was hopeful for a quick return.
“It didn’t come back exactly as they’d like it, so there’s some other things they need to do make sure it heals back correctly,” MacIntyre said. “He was trying to come back and it kept swelling up every time he’d run.”
Having played just a game and a half, Gillam will be eligible to for a redshirt year, which will give the 2013 freshman All-American two more seasons as a Buff.
On Tuesday, Gillam tweeted, “Gotta get this knee right. Coming back for some more though. Going to stay positive and focus. #2moreyears.”
Olugbode, meanwhile, will get right back in the starting lineup this week when the Buffs (3-4, 0-3 Pac-12) visit Oregon State (2-4, 0-3).
Olugbode suffered an acute compartment syndrome injury during CU’s 41-24 loss to Oregon on Oct. 3 and CU announced he would miss five to seven weeks. He wound up missing just two games and returned to the practice field this week.
“He practiced today (Tuesday),” MacIntyre said. “He recovered quicker than we thought.”
Olugbode had started 17 consecutive games before his injury. He led the team with 83 tackles in 2014, and was the team leader, with 39, at the time of his injury.
MacIntyre said the Buffs will ease Olugbode back into the lineup until he gets back into playing shape, but said, “no doubt, yes he will (start).”
Freshmen Rick Gamboa, NJ Falo and Grant Watanabe will rotate in at linebacker, as well. Junior Ryan Severson (ankle) will miss his second consecutive game.
On offense, the Buffs are prepared to play without two of their top weapons.
As expected, MacIntyre said receiver Shay Fields will not play this week after injuring his left ankle late in Saturday’s 38-31 loss to Arizona.
Fields has caught 32 passes this season and leads the team with 504 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
“It’s tough losing Shay,” MacIntyre said. “Shay is a very good player and does a lot of things for us. I think we have some other guys that can make some plays. We just have to utilize the guys differently.”
Tailback Michael Adkins “is not quite ready yet,” MacIntyre said, but added the weekly line that they’ll know more at the end of the week.
Adkins injured his left hamstring on his first carry against CSU and has not played since.
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.