When it's about a player injury the news is never good, but the news concerning Eric Wood was as bad as it gets. An MRI confirmed that Wood sustained a torn ACL Sunday against the Cowboys and is lost for the season.
"It's hard on him and hard on us," said head coach Chan Gailey Monday. "He was having a very good year. He will be sorely missed this year."
For Wood it's the second major leg injury in his three NFL seasons. His rookie season was abbreviated due to a horrific compound fracture in November of 2009 forcing him to miss the last six games. Wood will miss the last seven games this season.
"It (stinks)," said Wood. "It's definitely not something I wanted to go through again, another long rehab process, but I'll do it. I'll just look to come back stronger next year."
The Bills center was injured following an interception on a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass that was intended for Donald Jones. The ball went off of Jones' hands to Terence Newman, who took the ball the other way to the Buffalo 22-yard line.
After the interception Wood headed up the field in an effort to make a tackle, but was broad sided by a Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware blocking for Newman. Wood's right leg appeared to stick in the turf twisting his knee awkwardly.
"I was going down to make a play and tried to avoid a blocker and I was going to cut to take a better angle," said Wood. "It was perfect timing where I went to cut he kind of got me in the side of my shoulder and it just put extra force on my knee and it just buckled under me.
"It was so weird. My toe caught and I knew instantly something was wrong. I've never torn an ACL and as soon as they came out there and asked what was wrong I said I thought I had torn my ACL. It's just unfortunate and terrible luck, but I just have to fight to come back."
Right guard Kraig Urbik replaced him in Sunday's game, but Andy Levitre is the team's backup center, and will move into the pivot. Demetrius Bell and Chris Hairston could both be back from injury this week.
"We have a versatile O-line," said Wood. "You can say whatever you want about them, but we're all pretty smart, we all play tough and we all play hard and when you've got guys like that you can be versatile. Now Andy is probably the most versatile O-lineman, but I have a lot of confidence in the guys that are coming in."
At this point it has not been determined whether Wood will have surgery right away or if doctors will wait a couple of weeks for the swelling to subside. Either way the Bills center already has his return date targeted.
"I'm shooting for training camp," he said. "I know a lot of guys lately have come back from this injury in seven, eight or nine months. So I'm going to shoot for that."
Wood's game really took off in this his third season as he stepped into the center spot on Buffalo's offensive line. Many observers felt he was having a season worthy of Pro Bowl consideration, leading the league's sixth-best rushing unit while also anchoring a line that's been among the league's best in sacks allowed.
"It's tough," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "You never want to see anybody get injured let alone a guy that I have a close relationship with on and off the field. It's so hard to see a guy like that who has worked so hard and had the injury his rookie year and came back to have to go through something like that again. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for him. But we've got to move on and everybody has to step up."
LB White also tears ACLThe news was just as bad for rookie linebacker Chris White. He too tore his ACL in Sunday's game while covering a punt. White was carted off the field in the third quarter.
"Chris White is the same situation as Eric unfortunately," said Gailey. "He'll be operated on as well and we lost him for the year. You hate that for a young player."