Bills head coach Dick Jauron for the third straight week said he was not optimistic that Marshawn Lynch would be available to him come Sunday for Buffalo's next game in Washington. But Lynch is not letting the slightest negative creep into his head as he recovers from his high ankle sprain suffered more than two weeks ago.
Lynch was working diligently with trainers on the side of the practice field Wednesday, doing lateral stepovers, jogging laps around the field and cutting in and out of running back bags with a football under his arm.
He's even pushed it up to full speed at times to test his injured ankle and came through it with tolerable discomfort.
"It's not that much pain," said Lynch. "It's a little stiff, but other than that it's pretty good."
Buffalo's trainers have told him he's ahead of schedule.
"I heard that this injury takes a lot of time to heal," said Lynch of his high ankle sprain. "With the way I've been running on it they say it's coming back a little faster than expected. But I'm just patiently waiting until I can get back out there."
"He's ahead of the schedule that we've set for him," said Jauron. "We'll continue to advance him and see how much he can tolerate and how much he tolerates tomorrow. That being said I'm not optimistic for this week."
It would be an understatement to call Lynch anxious to get back on the field. With no timetable for his return Lynch has a self-imposed mindset in which he tells himself he has to practice and play this Sunday, feeling it pushes him and his body to rehabilitate and heal faster.
"I just tell myself every day that I'll be able to play this week, so I tell myself that I'll be able to practice tomorrow," said Lynch. "That way I stay motivated and keep at what I need to do to stay healthy."
"He's always been optimistic," said Jauron. "He has always felt he's going to play in the next game, but he felt that way on the first Friday of the injury."
What eats at the rookie running back the most is not being on the field for his teammates as they have been tightly clinging to playoffs hopes the past two weeks.
"That's kind of been what has been pulling me to get out there as well as me just wanting to be out there with the rest of the team," he said. "That's something that's real important."
Lynch is not expected to practice Thursday, but he's holding out hope he can be back on the field with his teammates late this week in some capacity.
"I want to try and practice Friday," Lynch said.
Even if Lynch manages to practice to some degree Friday, he's not expected to play Sunday at Washington. In all likelihood it will be Fred Jackson and Dwayne Wright carrying the load Sunday as veteran Anthony Thomas is still dealing with a calf injury and was unable to participate in practice Wednesday.