The Buffalo Bills sat six injured players during yesterday's 24-23 win over the Carolina Panthers. The good news: that injury list did not get any bigger during the victory, with Bills head coach Doug Marrone telling reporters on Monday that the team exited Week 2 "as healthy as possible."
There's better news, too: a trio of the team's injured players are making progress in rehab, and may be close to returning to the lineup. Marrone singled out center Doug Legursky (knee), safety Jairus Byrd (feet) and kicker Dustin Hopkins (groin) among that group.
Marrone said Hopkins, Legursky and Byrd are getting closer to a return, says they're taking each situation day by day.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) September 16, 2013
Legursky, the team's only natural interior lineman among its reserves, injured his knee in the team's preseason finale over Detroit. Thomas Welch and Sam Young, two tackles by trade, have served as Buffalo's backup linemen with Legursky out of the lineup. Byrd, who has practiced on a limited basis since signing his franchise tender and returning to the practice field, has watched three safeties - Aaron Williams, Da'Norris Searcy and Jim Leonhard - take significant reps with the defense during the team's first two games.
Hopkins, meanwhile, had an unusual progression in his rehab on Monday: he kicked a Nerf ball. Apparently, that's a thing that rehabbing kickers do. While Hopkins has been sidelined, Dan Carpenter has handled the Bills' kicking duties, making three key field goals (out of four attempts) in yesterday's win.
The other three players injured - wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (hand) and cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (wrist) and Ron Brooks (foot) - are the players that are coming off of surgery. They'll be out longer-term, but Gilmore could be back within a month, and Goodwin and Brooks are likely targeting mid-season returns.