It was pretty much nothing bad news on the injury front from One Bills Drive early this week, as two key starters did not improve as planned over the bye week.
The news was terrible in regards to OLB Shawne Merriman – as the Bills announced they were placing the oft-injured star on injured reserve, ending Merriman’s season. The linebacker just could not shake an Achilles’ tendon injury that flared up in the Week 5 win over Philadelphia, and he will undergo surgery in an attempt to fix the problem once and for all. For a year that began with such promise with a dominating preseason for Merriman, this is a pretty depressing end.
Now the question is: Will we ever see Merriman in a Bills’ uniform again? He has one year left on his contract, but you have to wonder if the Bills’ front office is already weary of the constant injuries. There’s just no reason to believe he’s every going to stay healthy.
In more bad news, it appears that left tackle Demetrius Bell did not recover all that well from his injury over the bye week either. His shoulder is still causing him problems, and he’s a question mark for this weekend’s game in Toronto against the Redskins. With backup left tackle Chris Hairston already ruled out with an ankle injury, that leaves the Bills with exactly zero healthy left tackles. Left guard Andy Levitre will be forced into action at tackle if Bell can’t go, which would be awful for the Bills.
Don’t get me wrong: Levitre is by no means a slouch and he’ll certainly battle…but he’s not a tackle. He doesn’t have the length or the feet to handle elite pass rushers at tackle, and Washington has two good ones with Brian Orakpo and surprisingly effective rookie Ryan Kerrigan. I’m sure Chan Gailey will have a game plan ready to protect Levitre, but it’s still an awful situation. Bell can’t get healthy fast enough.