ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – While Sammy Watkins return off the the injured reserve was met with fanfare from the Bills faithful, his status for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville has been largely a toss up. That is until Friday, when Rex Ryan confidently announced that the 23-year-old will play in a limited role.
“I think he’s good to go,” Ryan said. “He won’t have a full work load, but we’re definitely gonna get him in there.”
Watkins was officially listed as questionable on the injury report along with fellow offensive threats, RB LeSean McCoy, TE Charles Clay and WR Percy Harvin.
Unlike Ryan, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn isn’t quite sold on Watkins suiting up, siting that the third-year wideout is insufficiently conditioned.
“We just wanted to just see Sammy in practice, to see where he was at,” Lynn explained. “As far as implementing him in the game, I don’t know about that yet.
“If he’s back, I’ll welcome him coming back, but we’re still evaluating him and his foot. He wasn’t quite at 100 percent and his conditioning – he’s been out for eight weeks – is not where it needs to be, so we’ll see.”
Eight weeks ago to the day, Watkins was placed on the IR as he dealt with the lingering effects of an off-season procedure that repaired a Jones fracture in his left foot. He did play in the first two games of the season and was largely ineffective, even complaining of pain following the Bills 13-7 loss to the Ravens.
After seeking a second opinion from orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, he was prescribed rest and rehab for the foot. On Wednesday the Bills designated him as their one injured reserve return player this season, and now have 21 days to activate him to the 53-man roster.
Based on Ryan’s comments, that decision may come sooner rather than later, as Buffalo will likely make him active within the next 24 hours if they’re serious about him playing on Sunday.
“[For] the team, the fans, all of us; ya, it’s great to get him back out there, no doubt,” Ryan remarked.
As far as the rest of the injury report is concerned, three Bills have already been deemed out, including S Robert Blanton, RB Mike Gillislee and WR Robert Woods. DT Corbin Bryant is doubtful.
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