Parrish out 4-6 weeks with thumb injury

If Bills fans still haven't come back down to earth following the team's exciting 3-0 start, the loss of Roscoe Parrish for up to a month and a half with a thumb injury might dampen those spirits.

Parrish suffered the injury in last week's game and had surgery on the thumb Tuesday, which could keep him out until the Bills first meeting with the Patriots on Nov. 9. There is the benefit of a bye week in Week 6 for Parrish to recover.

"Roscoe we anticipate will be out for a good while," said head coach Dick Jauron. "We're hoping four to six weeks in that range. That obviously sets us back a little bit. But it's probably as good as the news could be when we first heard about the injury."

The injury involves a ligament in his thumb, which is what required surgical repair.

"It wasn't a bone issue," said Jauron. "My understanding was it was a ligament issue and there's no support for the thumb if it moves a certain way. Talking to him today he wasn't in a lot of pain or discomfort with it. We're just hoping it heals real fast and we get him back on the field."

The receiver's thumb was injured early in the fourth quarter, but he played through it scoring a touchdown with four minutes left in last Sunday's game to pull Buffalo to within two (23-21) in their dramatic comeback victory over Oakland. He finished with three receptions for 42 yards.

"He made a number of his plays with the injury," Jauron said. "But our specialists felt it needed to be taken care of and that we had the possibility of maybe losing him again if it came out again and was re-injured."

As for who will replace Parrish in the lineup James Hardy and Justin Jenkins figure to be the primary candidates.

"Somebody is going to have to step up. Roscoe has played awfully well," said Jauron. "Obviously when somebody goes down everybody slides up so we're counting on them all to contribute. As we work through the week and Turk (Schonert) and Tyke (Tolbert) decide how they want to mix and match you'll certainly know more on Sunday."

Filling the void in the slot on offense however, will likely be predicated on the game plan each week.

Parrish will also be lost on punt returns where he currently stands third in the league in return average (15.2).

Rookie first-round pick Leodis McKelvin is expected to assume the punt return role in Parrish's absence, but Jauron is keeping his options open.

"Freddie (Jackson) has been back there some and Leodis has been back there and Josh (Reed) has returned for us too in the past," said Jauron. "We'll work them all there during the week and as we get up to game time they'll all be active so we'll have options."

Parrish is the second player to undergo thumb surgery this season. Rookie fourth-round pick Derek Fine suffered a thumb injury in the preseason, which also required surgery. He's yet to dress for a game this season and could still be a couple of weeks away from returning to action. Fine has already been declared out for this week's game in St. Louis.

The last time Parrish suffered an injury of this magnitude was in his rookie season when after making a big leap for a pass in training camp he landed awkwardly and broke his wrist. Parrish missed the first six games of 2005. The third-year wideout has played in every game since then, until now.

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