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BOULDER, CO - Nov. 20, 2021: ...
University of Colorado Boulder’s Brenden Rice suffers a leg injury against Washington during the November 20, 2021 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Colorado’s already thin receiver group will be even thinner this week.

On Monday, CU head coach Karl Dorrell said freshman Brenden Rice will not play when the Buffs (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12) visit No. 16 Utah (8-3, 7-1) on Friday in Salt Lake City (2 p.m., TV: Fox).

Rice, who leads CU receivers in catches (21) and yards (299), suffered a leg injury early in the second quarter of Saturday’s 20-17 victory against Washington and won’t be ready in time to play against the Utes.

Also on Monday, third-year freshman La’Vontae Shenault officially put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. Dorrell said Saturday that Shenault, who was suspended for seven games earlier this year, was no longer with the program.

On Monday night, Shenault posted on Twitter: “I would like to thank buff fans and coaches that have taught me many things in life that will still be with me on my journey that is far from over. Furthermore I would like to express that I am entering the transfer portal to find a new home. Thank you CU! NEXT CHAPTER!!!”

Rice’s injury and Shenault’s departure come one week after the Buffs lost receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig for the season with a leg injury.

“It’s really tough, honestly, because they’re all good players and they were all doing big things for us this season,” said sophomore Dimitri Stanley, who missed three games earlier this season. “It’s definitely tough to see them down, but we’ve just got to kind of step up; next man up mentality and gotta get this (win), honestly.”

CU has also played this entire season without Maurice Bell and the last nine games without Jaylon Jackson. Both are fifth-year juniors.

Going into Saturday, the Buffs will lean on Stanley (12 catches), junior Daniel Arias (18 catches) and a trio of freshmen: Chris Carpenter (six catches), Chase Penry (eight catches) and Ty Robinson (six catches).

“They’re gonna play bigger roles,” Dorrell said. “We still have a very capable group, very confident group. And they know they can make plays and we’ve just got to put them in positions to make plays and execute some good offense, but we feel we have the capabilities to do that.”

BOULDER, CO - Nov. 20, 2021: ...
BOULDER, CO – University of Colorado Boulder’s Jack Lamb(15) takes off with a fumble by Washington during the November 20, 2021 game in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Injury updates

Inside linebacker Jack Lamb had the biggest play of the game for the Buffs last Saturday, returning a fumble 88 yards for a touchdown. The transfer from Notre Dame won’t play this week, however.

Lamb left Saturday’s game with an unspecified injury and Dorrell said Lamb is probably “a couple of weeks away” from being able to play, which puts an end to his season.

Dorrell added there is “a chance” that inside linebacker Nate Landman and outside linebacker Guy Thomas will return. Both have missed the last three games.

Defensive lineman Janaz Jordan missed the Washington game with a shoulder injury and Dorrell said Jordan felt good Monday and the Buffs are hopeful he can return.

Outside linebacker Jamar Montgomery and defensive lineman  Justin Jackson both missed last week, but are now out of concussion protocol and should be able to play against the Utes.

Notable

Dorrell said that with Rice out, freshman cornerback Nikko Reed will get an opportunity to return kickoffs. Rice returned 17 kickoffs for 469 yards (27.59 average) this season. … CU will be looking for its first road win of the season. The Buffs are 4-2 at home this season and 0-4 in true road games.