Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey said that the shoulder injury C.J. Spiller suffered in Sunday’s game is “not as bad as originally thought”. He has not been ruled out for this week, but Gailey also said that Spiller’s return in Week 4 against the New England Patriots is “unlikely”.
Bills fans are no doubt happy that the injury to their other star running back isn’t as severe as once thought, but I highly doubt the Bills allow Spiller to play. They should give their young star some time to heal, but there is always a shot at seeing him active on Sunday if he has indeed made enough progress.
Expect Spiller’s return to be closely related to a potential return from Fred Jackson in Week 4, because the Bills will almost certainly rule Spiller out if Jackson is able to play. In fact, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said yesterday during half-time in the infamous Green Bay Packers loss that Jackson will “probably” return.
Ruled out with an LCL tear, Jackson’s original time table put him at a three-week return as a best case scenario, with six weeks being the most likely return date and eight weeks being the longest. However, Jackson has proven that he is one of the NFL’s toughest players by somehow putting himself on track to return in just two weeks from the day of his knee injury. Insane, right?
Gailey has become increasingly optimistic on his prospects of playing in Week 4, as Jackson has progressed extremely quickly and has made it his goal to return in time for the game against the Patriots. He gave himself a 70-75% chance of playing, and he has always been a player who has given the Pats a ton of trouble.
This past week, the Patriots were lit up by top all-purpose back Ray Rice. While Jackson won’t be as good as Rice due to the injury, he does offer one underrated skill that Rice doesn’t offer; pass protection. Jackson is great at everything, and he is the Bills true feature back despite the incredible season Spiller is having thus far. The Bills will need at least one of their star backs back, because a backfield of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tashard Choice doesn’t spell a winning formula for Buffalo.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.