The Bills have done a good job of maintaining their offensive production despite being down in numbers at the receiver position. Heading into a big division matchup with the Jets this week, Buffalo could have one of their injured receivers back in the lineup in Donald Jones.
Entrusted with filling the void left by the traded Lee Evans, Jones has missed each of the past two games with a high-ankle sprain. Now more than three weeks removed from the injury, Jones is ready to return to the practice setting.
"I'll definitely get the green light to practice Wednesday," said Jones, who still ranks fourth on the team in receptions and receiving yards. "I'll be limited, but we're going to make a go of it."
Jones workload was increased considerably last week by the team's athletic training staff as he worked on the side during team practices. He began lateral work and cutting drills in the middle of the week and took the final steps for a return late last week.
"I've been running routes and I ran again (Monday)," said Jones. "I feel good. The trainers feel confident. I feel confident so we'll see how it goes on Wednesday."
Cutting off the foot still involves pain and Jones believes that could be the case for the remainder of the season, but even his head coach believes the second-year receiver has a shot to play Sunday.
"Jones really has a chance," said Chan Gailey. "I think Donald has a legitimate chance to play this week."
Being a New Jersey native only provides Jones with more incentive to be ready to play against one of the NFL teams he watched growing up.
"It'd mean a lot for me to get back on the field and get back against these guys," he said. "I work out with a lot of them in the offseason. We'll see how I'm feeling throughout practice and on Sunday."
Hairston before Bell?Demetrius Bell has been out of the lineup longer than Chris Hairston, but Bell's shoulder injury suffered in Week 5 is still presenting problems.
"I don't think it was as light an injury as first thought," said Gailey. "It's taken a little bit longer for him to get back. I don't know if we'll have him this week or not. I think we have a better chance of getting Hairston back than getting Bell back."
Hairston, who fared well at left tackle as Bell's replacement, suffered a severe ankle sprain against the Giants in Week 6, but has recovered quickly and like Jones has a chance to return to the lineup Sunday.