As the Bills prepare to travel to the nation's capital Thursday their receiver position has taken a big hit losing three of their 10 receivers to injury two days before the team's preseason opener. Felton Huggins, who sustained a severe shoulder injury Monday, was placed on the waived/injured list Wednesday morning. Then came more disappointing news concerning fourth-round pick Marcus Easley.
"It looks like he's going to need surgery," said head coach Chan Gailey. "I don't know exactly when that's going to take place and I think we'll get a better determination what we're talking about long term, short term after that."
Easley suffered what Gailey termed a sore knee last week after landing on it hard during practice. The rookie wideout was still able to stand out at practice and observe, but has been favoring his left leg.
In addition James Hardy did not participate in practice Wednesday after suffering an undisclosed injury late in Tuesday's practice. Gailey initially did not think it was any major cause for concern, but a day later he confirmed that Hardy will miss some time.
"Hardy is going to be out at least a week to 10 days it looks like unless something major happens," said Gailey.
Under that timetable, Hardy will not only miss the preseason opener, but the second preseason game as well just six days after the Bills play the Redskins. For the third-year receiver that has come back from reconstructive ACL surgery and hernia surgery this past spring, the timing could not be worse.
"That's tough on him," said Gailey. "I feel bad for him. I feel bad for us too. We wanted to get a good look at him. He'd done some good things."
Buffalo effectively lost a third of their receiving corps with the preseason slate set to begin. They'll go into Friday night's game with just seven healthy wideouts. Always needing enough legs to run routes in the camp setting, Gailey isn't ready to add another receiver just yet.
"We'll have to see," he said. "We have a short week next week so it's not like we can go out and do a ton between the next two ballgames. We'll make a decision probably during the week next week whether we need to address that for the long term or not."
A move will likely hinge on the rate of Hardy's recovery and the prognosis for recovery on Easley following his surgery.
For the young rookie receivers like Donald Jones, David Nelson and Naaman Roosevelt it's as good an opportunity as any to make an impact in Friday night's game.
"With seven wideouts going into a ball game they're all going to get a good opportunity to play so every one of those guys are going to get a bunch of plays," Gailey said. "So it's a good opportunity to show what they can do."