There's a chance the catalyst for Buffalo's offense won't be available for the Bills' biggest game of the season. Marshawn Lynch did not practice with his Bills teammates Wednesday putting his status for Sunday night's game against the undefeated New England Patriots in doubt.
"It's very sore right now," said head coach Dick Jauron. "I would say we're not overly optimistic. We'll just kind of go through the week and see what happens, but we're not optimistic about it."
Lynch is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered late in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game against Miami. On Monday head coach Dick Jauron stated that Lynch felt he would be able to play Sunday night. But on Wednesday when asked if it could be more than a one week injury Jauron responded in the affirmative.
"We've all seen things happen real fast and people heal real fast particularly when they're that young and he's a little bit different," said Jauron. "So we'll hope and see what happens, but if he can't go then we'll go on to our three guys and we like them all."
Buffalo's offense, which has scored more than one offensive touchdown just twice in nine games would sorely miss their featured back, especially when facing the league's highest scoring offense in New England.
For the most part Lynch has been Buffalo's offense this season accounting for 36 percent of the team's total yardage and has had a hand in seven of the team's 10 offensive touchdowns this season, scoring six on the ground with one passing touchdown to Robert Royal.
"We know he's a very unique player with unique skills and we hate to play the game without him, but that's the nature of our business," said Jauron. "We've had a number of injuries, and if he can't go then we have to believe that the guys we have can play and perform well and we believe that."
Fellow rookie Dwayne Wright has seen the most work on the ground for the Bills behind Lynch, logging 25 carries this season for 76 yards, with veteran Anthony Thomas carrying 10 times this season for 12 yards. Fred Jackson is slashing type back that Jauron says will also be active Sunday night should Lynch be unable to play.
"He's been a tremendous force for our offense all year," said J.P. Losman of Lynch. "But if he's not there everyone is just going to have to pick up their load. And whoever is stepping for him Anthony, Dwayne, Fred, those guys are going to step in there and make some plays as well. We'll have some things to cater towards what those guys do best as well which would help us out if necessary. We've just got to keep it rolling."
Currently the league's fifth-leading rusher, Lynch has gained a lot of respect not only in his own locker room, but around the league as well.
"I think Lynch is a terrific back," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "I had a very high regard for him coming out in the draft. He's been everything and more. If you need tough yards he's got the balance and vision to find a crack there and get what's there and maybe get another yard or two on his own. I thought the run he had for the two-point conversion (last week) was a great run. He's as dangerous as any player we've faced at that position because he can hurt you in so many different ways."
Whether the Patriots have to worry about all that Lynch brings to the field on game day come Sunday night remains to be seen.