Travis Hunter out vs. USC; Deion Sanders tells Buffs star to 'get healthy'

Colorado will be without Travis Hunter for a second straight game, despite the two-way star's strong desire to return from a lacerated liver sustained Sept. 16.

Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders read a text message exchange he had with Hunter in a recent team meeting, where Hunter stated, "I need to play this week. We need to get everything we can so I can get back on the field. I'm not taking no for an answer." In a video of the meeting, posted by Well Off Media, Sanders read his reply to Hunter, telling the cornerback/wide receiver that he isn't ready to return for Saturday's game against No. 8 USC.

"I care about you more than I care about this game," Sanders said of his text to Hunter. "You're going to change the game of football one day when you get healthy and ready. Your future is brighter than mine ever will be and ever was. Relax and get healthy. I love you, son."

Sanders then told the players that he cared about them more than the game but wanted them to learn about themselves through adversity. After a 3-0 start, Colorado lost 42-6 to No. 9 Oregon on Saturday, narrowly avoiding being shut out.

"How we proceed to take the next step is vital," Sanders told the team. "What you think about yourself is vital. How you learn throughout this adversity is vital. Everything from here on out is vital, because you think you were watched before, but now everybody has their eyes on you, because guess what? They want to know how you respond."

Hunter suffered the injury after absorbing an illegal hit from Colorado State's Henry Blackburn along the sideline in Colorado's victory. Hunter was taken to a local hospital after the game and released Sept. 18.

In his first three games at Colorado, Hunter had 16 receptions for 233 yards on offense and an interception, two pass breakups and nine tackles on defense.

Without Hunter, Colorado never got on track against Oregon, which outgained the Buffaloes 522-199 and had 17 more first downs. Colorado next faces No. 8 USC at home.

"I know what's in this room," Sanders told the team. "I still believe in what's in this room, I understand what's in this room and I've got love for what's in this room."