CINCINNATI, OHIO – The taste of victory was made somewhat bitter for the Bills in Week 11, after losing two key offensive weapons in WR Robert Woods and RB LeSean McCoy, to injuries. Each left the game in the first half and did not return and while Woods’ knee injury appears to be far more serious – he was seen on crutches after the game – than McCoy’s dislocated thumb, this almost never-ending cycle of players getting hurt, is taking it’s toll.
It was obvious in the demeanor of Rex Ryan during his postgame press conference, admitting to feeling a bit deflated. “I feel deflated about the injuries,” Ryan said. “I know what this team can do. If we are healthy, we are going to be pretty tough.
“It seems like we are snake-bit this year. If we can get guy healthy, I mean I know we are a fresh team. I think we are fresh as a football team, it just seems like these injuries just are hurting us.”
As Ryan was lamenting, Bills LB Preston Brown had a much different outlook on the situation, even hinting at the return of a key player to held ease the pain of Sunday’s losses. “We’ll be alright,” he said. “We have Sammy Watkins coming back next week, some other guys will be back to help us. We’ll be alright.”
Watkins, who was placed on the injured reserve ahead of Week 4 after experiencing some lingering foot pains from an off-season surgery, hasn’t seen action since the Bills Week 2 loss to the Jets.
NFL rules allow for each team to bring back one player off the IR each season, but that player must sit out for at least six weeks before returning to practice and eight weeks before playing in a game.
The former first-round pick was technically allowed to return to the practice field last week, following the Bills bye, but as Ryan explained, the team’s medical staff had not cleared him. Next Sunday’s meeting with the Jaguars is the first game Watkins would be eligible to play.
Nonetheless, the Bills offense, which has been ravaged by injuries at the receiver position all year, would certainly welcome the playmaking ability of Watkins. To get back a player of his caliber during a crucial stretch of the season could pay huge dividends for the Bills.
Ryan speaks with the media around 4:40 today, so we’ll likely find out if a Week 12 return is truly in the cards for Buffalo’s top wideout.
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