Bills running back Fred Jackson was given a timetable of four to six weeks for the broken bone in his hand suffered in the preseason opener on Aug. 13. Just 18 days later, Jackson had the big bulky cast off of his left arm and was practicing with his teammates Tuesday.
Jackson was wearing a hard plastic brace on his left hand that covered the right side of his palm and wrapped around his ring and pinkie fingers, which did limit him somewhat.
"I felt like I was able to go full go, but I still can't hold the ball in my left hand with the brace that I have on," he said. "I was trying to see how much I could do it, but I definitely wouldn't be able to do it with this brace on my hand."
"Fred did okay," said head coach Chan Gailey. "He's rusty. He hasn't done much of anything and he has a hard time handling the ball completely. But he moved around pretty good. He's in good shape still and takes good care of himself."
Jackson will not play in the team's preseason finale, but expressed confidence that he'd be able to play in the season opener against Miami.
"I feel there's a 100 percent chance I could play, but it's going to come down to how much they want to get me out there and if they want to use me," he said. "I still don't know what the deal is, but I think we'll find out more next week."
Gailey wasn't ready to be quite as optimistic about Jackson playing in Week 1.
"I'm not ready to commit to that," said Gailey. "I think that's a wait and see."
Jackson was able to catch passes with the brace on his hand in practice, though he felt the quarterbacks were taking it easy on him.
"I caught as much as possible and used the hand just to see what it felt like," he said. "It felt fine during it, so hopefully next week I can come out and do more stuff with it."
When Jackson does play in a game he does not intend to use the brace in its current form. He's hoping a different version of it can be put together by the athletic training and equipment staff.
"I can't grip the ball with this. It's holding my hand in a certain position," said Jackson. "To be able to hold onto a football I wouldn't be able to use it. But we're going to tweak it and see what we can do with it. They have some ideas what they want to try."
Ultimately Jackson realizes the biggest factor in determining how much he can do will be the pain that his hand causes him, but he's not expecting it to restrict him.
"I think I have a high pain tolerance," he said. "I think that has something to do with it. They said if I can deal with it then I would be able to play. They said it's coming along as good as we wanted it to. They said about four weeks and that's what we're looking at."
The four week mark will be Friday, Sept. 10.