http://www.buffzone.com/ci_14068367 What goes up must come down. And that includes the high-flying Shannon Sharpe. The most beautiful, exciting and painful moment of Colorado`s basketball season took place moments after head coach Jeff Bzdelik whistled the start of the team`s first practice in October. Sharpe, described by the coaching staff as the most explosive and athletic player to sign with the Buffs in years -- and if you`ve had a chance to watch Alec Burks play at all, you know that`s saying something -- didn`t waste any time showing off the leaping ability that made him a legendary YouTube figure. The 6-0 freshman guard dunked the ball with authority but landed awkwardly on one foot after returning to our planet. The player many fans wanted to see more than any of the other highly touted newcomers had sustained a season-ending knee injury in the first five minutes of the first practice of the season. "It`s nothing too big to me," Sharpe said during a recent interview with the Camera. "Life always hits you with minor setbacks." In Sharpe`s life, which is only in its 19th year, overcoming surgery and a season of physical rehabilitation qualifies as a small bump on the road to realizing his hoops dreams. This is a kid who lost both of his parents to heart failure during high school. Sharpe`s mother died in January 2007, less than two years after his father passed away -- both at the age of 46. -and- Now that Sharpe is a part of the CU family, Bzdelik and his staff want to make sure he leaves Boulder with a degree and a future as bright as his smile. After feeling a tweak in his knee after that first dunk of the season, Sharpe assumed he would be asked to play through the pain. "I didn`t expect to be out longer than two weeks. I expected it to be a little injury, get a little cortisone shot and get back in a couple days," Sharpe said. "When coach told me there would be surgery and I would be out for the whole season, it was very devastating and disappointing." There are some coaches in college basketball that would have played Sharpe this season. Bzdelik, despite needing all hands on deck to turn things around in his critical third season at CU, didn`t hesitate in making the right decision. "He probably could have played this year, but it would have been the wrong thing to do morally," Bzdelik said. "I would never do that. We will always err on the side of caution when it comes to a young man`s health. "The significance of the injury now that he has had the surgery is less severe than if we had played him all year. It really could have been a traumatic surgery if he had played. He should come back better than ever." Sharpe`s surgery was a success, his rehab is on schedule, and he expects to be off crutches in the next few weeks and playing basketball again by April. "He knows that everybody here loves him and is here for him," Bzdelik said when asked if he felt a responsibility to be a father figure to Sharpe. "He knows in a time of need, as all my players do, they have a place to turn. That`s us."