This season’s Week 7 bye has provided the Bills with the ideal opportunity to nurse some injuries and regroup for the second half of the season. The combination of nagging injuries and new injuries has kept the medical staff at One Bills Drive active. With an overload of injuries, the bye week will provide an oasis amidst the flurry of injuries.
Kyle Williams, Shawne Merriman, Nick Barnett, Chris Kelsay, Stevie Johnson, and Donald Jones. Those are just six names of starters for the Bills that have either been sitting due to injury or playing through the pain of their respective injury. Generally speaking, it is rare to have the success the Bills have experienced with this many starters banged up. A week of rest will provide players such as Johnson, Kelsay, Merriman, and Barnett to recharge after experiencing injuries that have generated adversity to play through.
Since Week 1, Stevie Johnson has been bothered by a groin injury. Heading into Week 6 against the New York Giants, Johnson played at a self-proclaimed 90 percent. With the bye week next up, Johnson told reporters “I think I can get back to 100- percent.”
Kyle Williams’ foot injury has provided some insight as to why the pro-bowl defensive tackle has not been his dominating self this season. While Williams has managed to still have an impact on the field, it is apparently that his persistent foot injury is slowing him down just a tad. Williams was spotted at practice Wednesday afternoon not practicing and wearing a walking boot. Despite having an additional week off, Coach Gailey said “It still looks like he’ll miss a game or two maybe and then we’ll re-evaluate at that point.”
With Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay expected to return against Washington in Week 8, the Bills defense has plenty to be excited about after the bye week. “I feel great. I’ll be out there today,” said Kelsay prior to the team’s practice on Wednesday. Buffalo has been noticeably thin at outside linebacker with Kelsay missing the past two games and Shawne Merriman missing last week’s game with an Achilles flare up. Both players however, anticipate being ready for the Week 8 game against Washington at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
After suffering an ankle injury against Philadelphia, the original diagnosis ruled Donald Jones out for 4-6 weeks. However, good news has emerged that Jones appears to be ahead of schedule. “No set target yet,” said Jones. ”It’s moving a lot faster than I expected, but they don’t want to rush it and get me back too fast.” When asked he will be out for six weeks, Jones responded, “We don’t think it will be six weeks at all. So we’ll see how I feel in the next two weeks.”
Although he has started every game for the Bills this season, Nick Barnett has been battling through an injury himself. Throughout the past few weeks, Barnett has dealt with an ankle injury, however the bye week will be fully embraced by Barnett. ”I’m going into two weeks of this ankle injury, so being able to go into this bye week and rest it up and getting the treatment that I need going into Washington” Barnett said.
As depression as it will be to turn on the television this Sunday and not see the energetic Buffalo Bills take the field, it could be for the best this week. The timing of this season’s bye has been more than ideal for a banged-up football team looking to bounce back. Although the Bills have miles to go before they sleep on this season, look for the bye week to re-energize this young squad and give them momentum for the second half of the 2011 season.
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