A season in which Bills second-round pick James Hardy aspired to be the shot in the arm Buffalo's offense needed to take the next step has ended for the rookie with a step back. The wide receiver will be placed on injured reserve in the next day or two after tearing his ACL in Sunday's game against the Jets.
"The injury in the game to James Hardy was a serious one," said head coach Dick Jauron Monday. "He'll end up missing the rest of the season."
Hardy had an MRI performed Monday morning and the damage to his left knee was apparent, and is not only restricted to his ACL.
"Possibly some other issues too and when the time is right we'll address them," said Jauron. "But the surgery will require nothing that hasn't been done before to players and they come back from it."
The injury occurred on Marshawn Lynch's 35-yard run down the far sideline on Buffalo's first offensive possession of the game Sunday. Hardy appeared to get caught up in the traffic the gathered at the tail end of the play when Lynch was forced out of bounds.
Hardy had to be helped to his feet and was carted off the field less than six minutes into the game.
The Bills' 41st overall pick last spring looked as though he was going to be the red zone threat they were looking for early in the season when he pulled in a game-winning touchdown reception at Jacksonville in Week 2.
But as is the case with many rookie wideouts picking up the offensive system and recognizing defensive coverages on the fly and adjusting his routes accordingly proved difficult.
As a result his time on the field was reduced as the offensive staff chose to rely more on their veteran receivers. Hardy finished his first NFL season with nine receptions for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Still, Buffalo's coaching staff believes he will be a major contributor in the years to come.
"He was doing pretty well," said Jauron. "It's a hard position to play. When you're a high draft pick like he was as a number two there are a lot of expectations. We believe he's going to be an outstanding player and he was making progress and he is a hard worker. We anticipate really good things from him. So we expect him to make a full recovery and come back to us next year."