Richardson was the Buffaloes' best receiver as a 2011 sophomore, catching 39 passes for 555 yards and five touchdowns despite missing four games due to a sprained knee.
The full recovery time for an ACL injury is general nine months at the earliest, but Richardson had been optimistic that he'd get back in time for the season opener since he'd been cleared for running just three months after his surgery.
It could be that getting back by the third game is a bit overly-optimistic as well. Buffs coach John Embree appeared less than sanguine at the prospect. As told to the Daily Camera:
"He's not ready," Embree said. "He hasn't run any routes really yet. He hasn't done any team work, timing, all those issues.
Embree said it's possible Richardson could be ready for the Buffs' first road trip Sept. 15 to Fresno State. That is the final nonconference game of the season.
"We'll see what the doctors say," Embree said after a morning practice today. "We'll see how they evaluate him and what his family says and how he looks."
The issue may not be so much whether or not Colorado can survive the first two games without Richardson--the Buffs open with rival Colorado State in Denver and then host Sacramento State--but whether he'll regain the explosiveness he displayed before his injury in time to help the Buffaloes out this season. Richardson's 284 receiving yards in last year's Pac-12 opener against California was the top single-game mark in the conference in 2011 and augured well for the program's future.
Already lacking dynamic playmakers on its roster, Colorado must now hope that relatively-untested youngsters like Keenan Canty and Tyler McCulloch step up, or that incoming freshmen Jeffrey Thomas and Gerald Thomas are ready to go.
All in all, it could mean major trouble for an offense that also has new starters at quarterback, running back and tight end.