Paul Richardson out with injured knee

Updated: April 10, 2012, 4:11 PM ET
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com

Whoever wins the job as Colorado's starting quarterback is going to be down a major weapon.

Junior wide receiver Paul Richardson suffered a torn knee ligament Monday and will miss the 2012 season. The injury occurred during a non-contact special teams drill.

Richardson was Colorado's third-leading receiver last season, even though he missed four games with a sprained knee. He caught 39 balls for 555 yards and five touchdowns.

"Obviously it's a blow to our team, but it's part of the game," coach Jon Embree said in a statement. "It's an opportunity for others to step up and try to lessen his loss. I thought at first he just rolled his ankle and it turned out to be this. It's a shame because he's worked real hard and was doing a great job both on and off the field, leading by example and improving on all of the things we needed to work on."

Colorado is coming off a 3-10 season -- its first in the Pac-12 conference where the Buffaloes went 2-7 in league play.

Richardson is the second high-profile Colorado player to go down with an injury. Last month, Nick Hirschman broke a bone in his foot that is keeping him out of spring ball -- though he's expected to return by fall to compete with Texas transfer Connor Wood for the starting quarterback spot.

Colorado ended the 2011 season by winning two of its last three -- notching a win at home against Arizona and closing out the year with a 17-14 victory at Utah.