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Receiver Stevie Johnson was held out of practice Thursday with a groin injury, but the Buffalo Bills are optimistic he'll be ready for Sunday's season opener.
"He could have gone out there. We kept him out. We think he'll be back out [there today], be back Saturday and ready to go Sunday," coach Chan Gailey said after practice.
Johnson had offseason surgery to repair a small tear in his groin, but said Thursday this injury is not in any way related. He felt it tighten during Wednesday's practice.
"It's natural for something like this to happen," Johnson said was the message he got from team trainers, "but it'll definitely be gone and nothing we should really have too much worry about."
Johnson played through his injury last season, often taking a practice off in the middle of the week. Gailey said it was too soon to determine if a similar approach would have to be taken this year.
"Let's get through this, and then we'll evaluate all of that. He'd been going great," the coach said. "If it's a one-time incident, then it's no big deal. If it looks like it's chronic, then you've got an issue and you've got to deal with it. I'm not trying to make up problems right now."
Johnson sounded as if the issue would not be a long-term one.
"Not at all. I'm not concerned at all about having to deal with this like I did last year," he said. "The offseason surgery helped out a lot. I think this is just something that ... it'll be gone."
Johnson expects to practice today.
"We're opening up against a division opponent. ... It's more incentive to be out there and be ready to play for this game," he said.
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Wildcat quarterback/receiver Brad Smith, who's dealing with a groin injury of his own, was able to make it through practice and the results were good.
"He moved around great [Thursday]. We got some timing with our Wildcat so that part of it was good," Gailey said.

Gailey said right guard Kraig Urbik was limited in practice after sitting out Wednesday with a sore lower back, but that barring any setbacks, he'd be ready for Sunday.
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The Jets listed 16 players on their injury report.
Rookie receiver Stephen Hill was a new addition. He practiced fully, but is listed as having a calf injury. Hill was named the Jets' No. 2 receiver Wednesday.
Safety LaRon Landry did not practice because of a heel injury, but that is part of a plan for him. He's expected to be back today. Safety Eric Smith, who's not expected to play, also did not practice.
Tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring), offensive lineman Brandon Moore (hip), linebacker Bryan Thomas (ankle) and defensive linemen Sione Pouha (back) and Mike DeVito (calf) were limited participants.
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Bills owner Ralph Wilson issued a statement on the death of former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Art Modell. Art and I were good friends and while we remained competitive in respect to our teams, we shared many laughs over the years. He was an influential figure in our league and was respected tremendously within the NFL ownership group. Art was a loving family man and he and Pat made a great team. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to his sons David and John and the entire Modell family and all of his friends."
Modell died Thursday at the age of 87 of natural causes.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com