Buffalo Bills C Wood out with knee injury
The Buffalo Bills will have to continue their late-season
playoff push with a limping leading receiver Stevie Johnson and a
banged-up offensive line.
Starting center Eric Wood said Monday he expects to miss between
two and four weeks with a partially torn ligament in his left knee.
Coach Chan Gailey said starting right tackle Chris Hairston is
unlikely to play against St. Louis on Sunday because of a deeply
bruised right ankle.
As for Johnson, he’s still experiencing tightness in his left
hamstring. He’s expected to miss practice time this week, though
Johnson remains confident he can play through the injury.
”I’m not worried too much,” said Johnson, who has five
touchdowns and leads the team with 55 catches and 705 yards. ”I
know I’ll be out there on Sunday, even if it was worse than what it
Johnson, who’s also been bothered by a nagging groin injury,
felt his hamstring stiffen after scoring on a 13-yard catch early
in the third quarter in a 34-18 win over Jacksonville on
Wood and Hairston were also hurt during the game.
On the bright side, No. 2 receiver Donald Jones is expected to
return after being held out Sunday with a calf injury.
The Bills (5-7) remain on the fringes of the AFC playoff hunt in
preparing to host the Rams (5-6-1).
The injuries to Wood and Hairston leave the Bills with one
backup lineman, tackle Thomas Welch. The team is expected to sign
another lineman before returning to practice on Wednesday.
Shortly after Gailey said the Bills were preparing to free up a
roster spot to add a lineman, the team announced it had released
veteran linebacker Kirk Morrison. The eighth-year player had proven
to be the odd-man out after being listed inactive for all 12 games
The Bills re-signed Morrison to a two-year, $4 million contract
in March to provide them an experienced backup behind starter Nick
Barnett. It was a disappointing finish to Morrison’s two years in
Buffalo. After spending five seasons as a starter in Oakland and
one in Jacksonville, Morrison appeared in just 14 games – all as a
backup – with the Bills.
Buffalo’s re-shuffled offensive line will feature Sam Young
taking over for Hairston, and right guard Kraig Urbik expected to
shift to center. That means David Snow is expected to take over at
right guard. Snow is an undrafted rookie out of Texas who opened
this season on Buffalo’s practice squad.
For Wood, the knee injury is the latest setback for the second
of Buffalo’s two 2009 first-round draft picks.
He missed the final seven games of last season after requiring
surgery to repair a torn right knee ligament. Wood also missed the
final six games of his rookie season after breaking two bones in
his left leg.
Wood said he won’t require surgery because the injury is to his
MCL. And he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to play
in the final two games of the season.
Wood was hurt with under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
He was blocking a Jaguars player, when defensive lineman Jeremy
Mincey dived into his leg while attempting to tackle running back
Knowing that he was hurt, Wood was so frustrated by being
injured yet again that he stayed in for one more play before
alerting the trainers.
”I was in disbelief,” Wood said. ”I was in denial that I got
hurt. So I just kept paying because I was like, `There’s no way I’m
staying down on this field. There’s no way this is happening
He credited the knee brace he now wears as preventing what could
have been a more serious injury.
Wood was relieved to know the injury wasn’t major, because he
wasn’t looking forward to spending yet another long offseason
recuperating as he did last year. Wood wasn’t fully cleared for
practice at the start of training camp, and was eventually eased in
”It’s just stupid stuff that keeps happening. I played 49
straight games in college and never got banged up,” said Wood, who
played at Louisville.
”Maybe my luck ran out then.”
NOTES: Gailey said CB/return specialist Leodis McKelvin’s stiff
back is feeling better after he was forced to leave Sunday’s game
in the first quarter. … Gailey said there’s a fear veteran DE
Chris Kelsay’s neck injury could be season-ending. Kelsay has
missed three of the past four games since tearing a ligament. He
was spotted wearing a neck brace on Monday. … CB Aaron Williams
(right knee) has a chance to return this week after missing four
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