Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) runs the ball after a catch while being defended by New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Rex Ryan announced today that Sammy Watkins has returned to practice, but doubt still remains on a return to the field this Sunday.
The Buffalo Bills announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been cleared to practice and started doing so immediately in a limited manner. The training staff wanted to push him as far as possible without risking anything negative.
Ultimately, he was out there for about 20 plays that were run close to game speed. As for a return to the field this Sunday vs. the Jaguars, Watkins and the team are remaining cautious and don’t want him to miss even more time due to getting him out there too fast.
“There’s always pressure on us athletes, but not to go out on the field and not feel good. I’m not going to do that,” Watkins said on Wednesday. “But if I feel good, of course, I’m going to go out there and play and I’m going to do my best. But it’s really about being healthy. If I’m healthy enough to play and they think I’m healthy, then I’m going to go out there. I’m not going to go out there unhealthy.”
This whole debacle with Sammy Watkins‘ foot originally formed in the offseason — when Watkins broke his foot and required surgery. He had screws inserted in his foot and after just two regular season games he started to feel discomfort.
The discomfort in his foot translated to the field, with Watkins only grabbing six receptions for 63 yards on 11 targets in the two games he saw this season. After that, it wasn’t long before the young wide receiver found himself scratched from Week 3 and then put on the Injured Reserve.
After six weeks, he returned to practice and his chances of making a return this season have increased. Will that return come this week vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, though? Realistically, that answer is a no.
“Obviously, we’re encouraged that he has been cleared to participate,” coach Rex Ryan said. “I think that’s a good sign. He feels good, so we’ll see how it goes. We’re not going to run him until his tongue’s hanging out. We’ll be smart with him in how many plays we do. We’ll limit him” Wednesday, “but then we’ll see how he progresses.”
Rex Ryan continued:
“I think the health of Sammy’s the big question, whether Robert’s healthy or not. Make sure Sammy’s ready to go before he’s out there. As much as we want him, obviously he’s a difference-maker when he’s out there, so I get it.”
As we noted a week ago, it’s probably best that Sammy Watkins take the rest of the season off and return next year 110% healthy. At the same time, if he’s healthy and not at risk of re-injuring himself, then we could definitely use his talent — especially with Robert Woods‘ status up in the air.
Personally, I wouldn’t start to expect him to play until Week 13, but even that isn’t guaranteed. For now, we should just hope for more progress and let him heal completely. Injuries are never something you want to mess around with and definitely aren’t something to criticize a player for.