Ryan hopeful Watkins can play Thursday night


He is no way a lock to play, but it is Rex Ryan's hope that Sammy Watkins' sore foot will be good enough to play on Thursday night in the home opener against the division rival New York Jets.

According to the Bills head coach, Watkins told the team's athletic trainers that he was experiencing discomfort in his foot toward the end of Sunday's game against the Ravens.

"He complained of his foot being sore," said Ryan. "So that's going to be a thing. We'll see how he progresses through the week with that."

Ryan didn't offer too many details on the nature of the problem with Watkins foot other than to say that it was sore. As for Watkins' chances of playing Thursday night, Ryan has his fingers crossed.

"He's sore. That's what it is and we'll see how he progresses," said Ryan. "That's it. You're concerned with every injury, but hopefully he'll progress through the week and be ready to roll."

Buffalo took a very conservative approach with Watkins after he had surgery in the spring to repair a Jones fracture in his foot. He did not re-enter the practice setting until mid-August at training camp and his reps in practice were closely monitored. He was also told not to go full speed at the outset and did not practice on back-to-back days until the close of training camp.

Watkins was also held out three of the team's four preseason games, appearing for only two series in the Aug. 26th game at Washington.

The injury has proven to have a difficult recovery rate for NFL wide receivers knowing the daily torque and impact they put on their feet running routes and sharply cutting at full speed or going from top speed to stopping on a dime. Both Dallas WR Dez Bryant and Atlanta WR Julio Jones had recurrences of the injury post-surgery.

Knowing the close proximity of the team's first two games, Ryan was asked if there was any consideration to shutting Watkins down this week to give him two full weeks off the foot before their Week 3 game against Arizona.

"That's not what we're thinking right now," said Ryan.

Ryan said Watkins report of discomfort in his foot Sunday was the first time he complained about the foot giving him a problem since he returned to the practice field to his knowledge.

With the Bills hosting the Jets Thursday night, there are no regular practices scheduled this week. Ryan and his staff are only holding walk through sessions on the field to let the players' bodies rest. He expects Watkins to be out there to participate.

Then he and his offensive staff will see if Watkins foot responds favorably between now and Thursday.

"I'm hoping he plays immediately, but we'll see," said Ryan. "I'm confident he'll be okay, but again it's how he progresses through the week that will be the important thing."

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