For wide receiver James Hardy, hard luck has followed him all too often during his brief Bills career. His progress as an NFL receiver has been interrupted by major injuries (ACL in 2008) and minor ones (hernia in 2010). Unfortunately for him an undisclosed injury suffered more than two weeks ago only allowed him to get back on the practice field Wednesday night.
Despite the setbacks he's been dealt, Hardy was positive about his first practice since Aug. 10.
"It went very well," said Hardy. "I just started to go out there and get a little run in and see if there was any pain. For the most part I felt that the pain that is there I'll be able to deal with it. Hopefully I'll be out there on Saturday. We'll see how it goes (Thursday)."
When asked the nature of his injury Hardy chose not to disclose it.
Head coach Chan Gailey and the training staff did not let Hardy push things too hard his first practice back. Still, Buffalo's head coach is hoping Hardy can show enough in practice Thursday to give him the nod for Saturday's preseason game.
"We tried to be smart with getting James back too quickly," Gailey said. "But I talked to him after practice and he felt great so we'll push it a little harder (Thursday) and he could even play on Saturday night, which would be a real positive."
Hardy has yet to suit up for a preseason game this summer. The former second-round pick has missed valuable time in a pool of receivers that has seen a couple of surprise players emerge in Chad Jackson and rookie David Nelson. Naaman Roosevelt has also been a player Gailey has mentioned as a pleasant surprise.
But Hardy refuses to let the anxiety build within him despite all the time he's been forced to watch from the sidelines.
"I don't let things that I can't control bother me," he said. "I just control what I can control and live my life the normal way."
The third-year receiver has always called himself a gamer, and though he hasn't been on the practice field much of late he still feels he's provided the staff with clear signs of what he's capable of.
"Each and every day you have to show something," Hardy said. "I feel that the days that I was out there I showed huge improvements and huge strides and now it's time to go out there and do it on game day. I'm just hoping I'll be able to showcase my talent on Saturday."