Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE
The Buffalo Bills improved to 5-7 on Sunday, but several key players were injured along the way, including center Eric Wood and wide receiver Stevie Johnson.
The Buffalo Bills beat the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 34-18 on Sunday, but the victory came with a cost: several key players left the game due to injury. As such, the Bills will prepare for a Week 14 showdown with the St. Louis Rams potentially scrambling for answers at several positions.
Starting center Eric Wood left the game early on a cart with a knee injury, and while he did try to gut out a few plays after the injury occurred, it's looking like his may be the most serious of the injuries that popped up yesterday. WGR 550 called it a "knee sprain" during the live radio broadcast, and Wood has been listed as probable on the injury report with a knee issue for several weeks now.
Coupled with an ankle injury suffered by right tackle Chris Hairston, the Bills may be doing a lot of shuffling along the offensive line this Sunday. If Wood can't go, right guard Kraig Urbik will slide into the pivot and start at center. Who replaces Urbik at right guard will depend on Hairston's status; Sam Young will play guard if Hairston plays, but if Young has to play right tackle (as he did for much of the second half yesterday), undrafted rookie free agent David Snow will start at right guard.
The Bills are also banged up at wide receiver. Donald Jones was a last-minute scratch yesterday due to a calf injury, and then Stevie Johnson left early with a hamstring issue. Johnson told reporters after the game that his leaving the game was largely precautionary, and head coach Chan Gailey called Jones' injury "week to week" after the game. Clearly, if the Bills are missing one or both of these players, they're very thin at wideout; the team's other four receivers have combined for 27 catches this year (to Johnson and Jones' 93). 21 of those have come from T.J. Graham, with the other six credited to Brad Smith.
Leodis McKelvin was noticeably absent from the defensive starting lineup at the start of the game yesterday, and Gailey made it clear after the game what happened: McKelvin's back apparently tightened up before the game, and the team chose to sat him to try to work out the proverbial kinks. With McKelvin out of the lineup, rookie Ron Brooks saw the lion's share of reps as a starting cornerback, and McKelvin's return duties were split up between Marcus Easley and Justin Rogers. That would likely continue if McKelvin can't play next week, but his injury situation seems the most minor out of everyone's.
Add in the continuing problems for defensive ends Mark Anderson (knee) and Chris Kelsay (neck), as well as cornerback Aaron Williams (knee), and the Bills could be scraping the bottom of the depth chart in another must-win contest next weekend. Gailey did not provide injury updates in his weekly radio appearance on WGR 550 this morning, but we could know more about all of these situations later on this afternoon.