Bills to be without RBs Jackson, Lynch (AP)

Aug 16th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP)—Running back Fred Jackson(notes) has a broken bone in his left
hand, leaving his status uncertain for the Buffalo Bills’ season opener.

Wearing a cast covering most of his lower left arm, Jackson revealed after
practice Monday he’ll be out four to six weeks. Jackson hopes he’ll be out no
longer than four weeks, which would put him in a position to be ready for
Buffalo’s opener Sept. 12 against Miami.

“That’s what I’m shooting for anyway,” Jackson said, speaking to reporters
for the first time since he was hurt in a 42-17 preseason-opening loss at
Washington on Friday.

Opening the game as the starter, Jackson was hurt two plays in during a
7-yard run. That’s when he landed on his hand while attempting to brace himself
as he was being pulled down by the facemask by safety Kareem Moore(notes), who was
penalized on the play. Jackson said he stayed in for a few more plays before
leaving the game to have his hand examined.

Tests taken over weekend confirmed that Jackson broke the fourth metacarpal
bone.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” said Jackson, who finished last season as
the Bills’ starter and led the team with a career-best 1,062 yards rushing.
“Standing on the sideline, you can’t do much to help your team.”

Jackson wasn’t the only running back missing practice. Marshawn Lynch(notes), who
split the starting duties last season, walked with a noticeable limp and is out
indefinitely after hurting his ankle Friday.

The Bills returned to training camp Monday, and prepare to host Indianapolis
in a game at Toronto on Thursday.

Coach Chan Gailey isn’t scheduled to meet with reporters until after the
team’s night practice.

The injuries to Jackson and Lynch leave the Bills with an inexperienced
backfield. And it puts the team in a position to lean heavily on rookie
first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller(notes), who was initially expected to be eased into
the three-back rotation.

Spiller’s development was delayed after he missed the first seven days of
training camp before signing his contract on Aug. 6.

“The mindset is when a man goes down you never want to see it, but you have
to prepare yourself as if you’re next in line,” said Spiller, selected ninth
overall out of Clemson. “Now I’m the next guy in line to try to step up into
those big shoes and try to fill them for this preseason. I’m going to try to do
my best.”

The ACC’s player of the year last season, Spiller is a speedster who proved
to be a versatile threat as a running back, receiver and on special teams at
Clemson. He finished his four-year college career with 51 touchdowns, including
32 rushing, and joined Reggie Bush(notes) in becoming only the second player to have
3,000 yards rushing, 1,500 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 yards receiving and
500 yards in punt returns.

Against Washington, Spiller had four carries for 16 yards as part of
Buffalo’s overall dreadful performance. It was a game in which the Bills offense
went 1 for 10 in third-down conversions, their defense gave up three straight
touchdown drives in the first half, and their special teams allowed Brandon
Banks
(notes)
to score on a 77-yard punt return.

“I feel a whole lot more comfortable going into this game than I did last
week,” Spiller said. “I’ve just got to step up.”

The Bills were intending to use Spiller in numerous situations, including
lining him up in a two-back system alongside either Jackson or Lynch.

Spiller is now expected to share the rushing duties with Chad Simpson(notes), who
previously appeared sparingly in 25 games with Indianapolis over the past two
years, and undrafted rookie free agent Joique Bell(notes). Buffalo added another
running back on Monday by signing Andre Anderson(notes), an undrafted rookie free agent
out of Tulane.

The Bills also signed receiver Aaron Rhea(notes), an undrafted rookie free agent
out of Stephen F. Austin, and placed linebacker Ryan Manalac(notes) on waived/injured.

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