Buffalo Bills receiver Donald Jones is not ready to discuss the illness that landed him on injured reserve, but did say Thursday he is confident it won’t threaten his career.
“I’ve got to go home and get right and get everything healthy and get back on the field and be strong for everybody,” he said.
The Bills placed Jones on injured reserve Monday, saying he had a non-football related illness. That prematurely ended his third – and best – season as a professional. Jones finishes 2012 with 41 catches for 443 yards and four touchdowns.
“Going from having really the best season that I’ve had in the league to this now, it’s definitely something that I didn’t want to have to go through,” he said. “But that initial impact is done now. ... Going on IR gives me a chance to really rest my body and get everything back together.”
Jones told The Buffalo News last year about a “minor kidney disorder” that was discovered at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, part of the reason he wasn’t drafted out of Youngstown State. It’s not known if his current illness is related.
“I can’t really speak on it right now. Once I go see the doctors and get a chance to talk to everybody and gather everything together, I’m sure more will come out then.”
Jones plans to visit specialists in New York City, not far from his hometown of Plainfield, N.J.
“I’ll definitely have a full offseason and come back to do football stuff,” Jones said. “The people that I’m going to deal with are top-of-the-line doctors. They’ll get everything back together, and I’m sure they’ll be able to get a better understanding and get everything under control.”
Jones will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. His main priority currently is improving his health.
“I definitely feel comfortable with the support of the coaching staff and management,” he said. “Moving forward, I’m sure we’ll be talking with them soon. But, just like me, they have to get a better understanding how we can treat this going forward with the doctors. Once that’s under control we can do everything with the contract.”
The Bills have expressed an interest in adding another outside receiver in the offseason.
“I can’t control what they do as far as bringing in another receiver, a big-time receiver. If that’s what they decide to do in the draft or free agency or whatever it is, I just come back every year and play,” Jones said. “I’ve been battling since I got here. Every year in this league is going to be a battle. ... When I get back, I’ll battle. I’ll battle every year going forward.”
The Bills placed cornerback Leodis McKelvin on injured reserve Thursday because of a groin injury that coach Chan Gailey revealed will require surgery.
To take his place on the 53-man roster, the Bills re-signed veteran linebacker Kirk Morrison, who was released on Dec. 3.
“I don’t know what my role is, but if need be I’ll go out and play,” Morrison said.
Linebacker Arthur Moats is out for the season after being placed on injured reserve earlier in the week because of an ankle injury, and fellow linebacker Chris White has missed both practices this week because of a hamstring injury. Both players are staples on the Bills’ special teams units, so it’s quite possible Morrison will be needed in that role Sunday in Miami.
“Hopefully I’ll have a shot at playing on defense too,” he said. “This is the best opportunity to get some good tape and some film out there and show what I can do.”
Three starters returned to practice Thursday.
Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (ankle), tight end Scott Chandler (foot) and guard Andy Levitre (knee) were all on the turf inside the fieldhouse after sitting out Wednesday.
The only Bills not practice were receiver Marcus Easley, who has been ruled out of Sunday’s game because of a hamstring injury, and White.