Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams has undergone a procedure to relieve discomfort in his left wrist, but is not expected to miss any game action.
Coach Chan Gailey made that announcement Wednesday, following the Bills’ one and only practice of the bye week.
“He’ll be at practice next week,” Gailey said. “That’s what I understand. That’s what I was told.”
Williams was not in attendance Wednesday – the first practice he’s missed all season – a day after The Buffalo News reported he was considering surgery on his wrist. Gailey was vague on any other details surrounding the procedure, saying he had “no idea” whether it was performed in Buffalo or in Houston, where Williams played the first six seasons of his career.
The coach said he “thinks” the procedure was performed Tuesday, but was coy about everything else when it came to Williams, as evidenced by the following exchange with reporters.
Question: When and how was the decision made?
Gailey: “I don’t know all that. They told me what happened and said he’ll be ready next week, that’s all I know right now.”
Q: So you’re not clear on exactly what the issue is with the wrist?
Q: Is that Williams’ decision , or does he have to run it by team doctors?
Gailey: “I don’t know how all that’s made, I just know it happened.”
Q: Just to clarify, was it a surgical procedure? You said procedure.
Gailey: “I don’t know exactly what it was, to be honest with you. I don’t know if they did something non-invasive or invasive.”
The Bills on Wednesday denied an interview request made by The News to speak with team trainer Bud Carpenter about Williams’ injury, citing a team policy.
Gailey, who again refused to say how much he thought Williams was being affected by the injury, explained why the procedure could be beneficial to the player beyond its physical impact.
“Every advantage that you can get mentally for every player is great,” the coach said. “Everything that makes them feel better about playing, it helps.”
Williams has played in all seven games this season, but his production – 16 tackles and 3.5 sacks – has not been commensurate with his contract, a six-year pact worth potentially $100 million that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
The league got involved in the saga last week, fining the Bills $20,000 for not properly reporting Williams’ injury, which it called a sprain.
The Bills are off today through Sunday. They’ll return to practice Monday to prepare for their Week Nine game in Houston.
“That’s when you take care of things, is bye week, if you’ve got some little things you can take care of, that’s when you do it,” Gailey said.
Should Williams be limited when he returns, the Bills will turn to defensive ends Kyle Moore and the recently re-signed Shawne Merriman.
“If he’s banged up then the next guy’s got to come in and play, period,” Merriman said. “Things like that are going to happen during an NFL season. It’s a long season. … While a guy gets healthy, the next guy has to step up. … I’m one of the next guys.”
Merriman played in seven snaps Sunday against Tennessee in his first game since rejoining the team. He had one quarterback hurry.
Moore played in 22 snaps against the Titans, recording two quarterback hits and a half sack.
“I’m starting to get a handle on things,” Moore said. “I’m starting to get a little bit more reps and I just have to go out there and execute the amount of reps I get.”
Williams has played most of his snaps on the left side of the line. Moore said he didn’t have a preference on which side he rushed from.
“I’m better on some moves on the left, and I’m better with some moves on the right,” he said. “There’s different footwork, different hand placement, depending on which side you’re on.”
Fellow defensive end Mark Anderson, meanwhile, has an outside chance to play against Houston, Gailey said, but it’s more likely he’ll return in Week 10 at New England. Anderson, who was signed as a free agent a week after Williams, has missed the past two games after having knee surgery.