For months, Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams has chalked up a slow start to his 2012 season in large part to a sprained left wrist. With the Bills one practice away from taking a week off, Williams is now considering surgery on said wrist, per Tim Graham of The Buffalo News.
Williams has frequently brought up the wrist issue in discussions with media this season, and that behavior dates all the way back to pre-season play. That rhetoric, in part, led to the Bills being fined $20,000 for not disclosing the ailment on injury reports earlier in the season, despite the fact that the team insists that Williams never missed a practice.
If Williams does have surgery during the bye week, one would have to believe that it'd be minor enough where he'd miss no playing time, or a minimal amount of playing time. Buffalo's next game, in Week 9, is a road trip to Williams' former team, the Houston Texans.
Even if Williams decides to forego surgery - a distinct possibility if it would keep him out of the lineup for an extended period of time - the Bills may be wise to limit his playing time a bit.
Through the Bills' first seven games, Williams has been on the field for 412 out of 483 total defensive snaps (85.3 percent) despite the wrist injury, according to NFL figures. If you take out a Week 2 win over Kansas City, when Williams and several other defensive starters sat late after building a 35-3 lead, that play time percentage jumps to 88.5. Meanwhile, the only other two players on the line that have started every game - Kyle Williams (72.3 percent) and Marcell Dareus (73.9 percent) - are on the field significantly less (an average of roughly nine fewer snaps per game). Both of those defensive tackles have been dealing with their own ailments, as well.
Should Williams, dealing with a wrist injury, be playing almost nine out of every ten snaps? His annual salary says yes, but his level of production thus far very clearly says no. It may be difficult to pull Williams out of the lineup knowing that Mark Anderson (knee) is also shelved, but if Williams bypasses the surgical option and still isn't 100 percent, shaving down his playing time a bit could arguably benefit his effectiveness when he's on the field.
Williams and Chan Gailey both are expected to speak with reporters later today (Wednesday). We may know more about Williams' wrist and his bye week plans for it very soon.