Even though this offseason has been riddled with injuries, the Bills may not be in the worst of shape when it comes to week one of the regular season. It appears as though many of the walking wounded appear to be on the fast track toward making it back onto the field. Here is the latest news on a few of the preseason and camp injuries:
Fred Jackson: Freddy has returned to the practice field and shed his cast. It sounds to me that Coach Gailey feels that Fred will be ready to go in week one, but only on a limited basis. This makes me feel pretty good about where Fred is at. I figure if C.J. Spiller and Marshawn Lynch were not on the team, Fred might be able to take on a bigger role in the offense. With the Bills’ RB depth, though, it seems Gailey will take an intelligent approach and ease Jackson back.
Marshawn Lynch: Lynch appears to be at 100%. He was back on the practice field at full speed, and is expected to play in the Bills’ preseason finale Thursday.
Jairus Byrd: Byrd is probably the most important casualty the Bills need to have back by week one. Byrd has not yet returned to the practice field after having surgery on his groin. The pass defense has looked very suspect in his absence, as FS is probably the only position in the defensive backfield the Bills have questionable depth. Gailey has said that Byrd is “on track” to play in week one, but it’s difficult to know how realistic that is until he gets back on the field.
Ed Wang: Wang seems to be healing from his thumb injury rather quickly as his initial diagnosis was 4-8 weeks, but I generally expect injuries to last until the higher number. Wang has returned to the practice field, but is not ready to play on Thursday. Wang likely would not have seen too much action early in the season anyways, as he is really only the 4th or 5th tackle on the roster (though that doesn’t mean you won’t be playing on the Bills, as we found out last year).
James Hardy: Hardy played limited snaps against the Bengals, and even managed to make a 30-yard reception along the sideline in that game. I expect that he’ll be ready to see a lot of action on Thursday, and hopefully show some signs that he was worthy of a 2nd-round selection (not holding my breath on that one just yet).
Derek Schouman: The Bills’ TE is likely to miss another 2-5 weeks with a knee injury he suffered against the Colts. He also may be a little behind that schedule as he has struggled to stay on the field all offseason battling injuries. Gailey has hinted that Schouman will need more reps on the practice field before being ready to be too involved on Sundays.
While Marcus Easley and Danny Batten are out for the year with their injuries, if the Bills can get Jairus Byrd on the field, they should be in pretty good shape for the Dolphins game. Hopefully the Bills got the majority of their injuries out of the way early this season, and won’t suffer a repeat of last year’s injured reserve parade.