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Watkins hoping that Thursday is a step forward


Sammy Watkins has not missed a single practice this spring at One Bills Drive. Whether he's sitting on the aluminum bleachers or standing 10 yards behind the play with fellow teammates, Watkins is watching offensive plays unfold. About a month and a half after foot surgery, Buffalo's dynamic wide out is still hobbling off the practice field. His left foot sits in an immobilizer boot, but he's hoping that changes possibly as soon as Thursday.

"It's going great. I'm hoping to get the boot off (Thursday)," said Watkins after the Bills' Wednesday OTA practice session. "I really can't do anything now and I'm not really rushing it back. I've just got to listen to the staff."

The only definite piece of information post-surgery for Watkins is that he'll be full go for the start of the regular season. Everything that comes before that on the NFL calendar is up in the air.

"All I know is that Sammy won't miss time in the regular season," said head coach Rex Ryan. "Whether he comes back during training camp nobody has given us a specific time. It's just that we're extremely confident that he'll be ready to roll when the season starts."

Watkins is steadily ramping up his workload. He's now back doing workouts in the weight room, but the approach to his return to the field will be methodical.

"This is an injury where you've got to be very careful," said Watkins of the surgically implanted screw in his foot. "The only thing I can do is listen to the staff and take it slow. Just really protect myself and they're going to protect me also. We're going to take that course with the injury."

The Bills top receiver praised the medical staff, athletic trainers and teammates for keeping his spirits up through his rehabilitation.

"I don't keep a timetable. That's what the medical staff is for. They just tell me what to do and I do it," said Watkins. "The only thing I can do is go through the rehab and listen to the medical staff and just keep trying to continue to get better."

Watkins isn't concerned about the time on the field lost with quarterback Tyrod Taylor. He's confident the duo will be able to lean on their experience together last season when he returns to the field. For now his chief focus is getting back to full health for Week 1.

"It'll feel good," he said. "That's what every athlete shoots for and wishes for and to be healthy is the best thing for any athlete. To go out there in the first game and feel healthy and play with the guys you love, that's what I'm aiming for."

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