The Buffalo Bills’ injury situation took a turn for the worse Monday.
Coach Doug Marrone announced rookie wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was in surgery for a fractured right hand, and that second-year cornerback Ron Brooks was scheduled for surgery today on a fractured foot.
Both will be out an undetermined amount of time, Marrone said, but neither injury is expected to be season-ending.
The injury suffered by Brooks is the same one he suffered last year, when he started his rookie season on the injured reserve-designated to return list. Marrone said he was awaiting word from doctors following each surgery before determining if either player would be a candidate for that designation this season.
Goodwin, a third-round draft pick out of Texas, caught one pass in Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium. He fumbled on the play and the Patriots recovered. He went to the locker room shortly before halftime and did not play again. His absence leaves the Bills without their top kick returner. Receiver T.J. Graham filled that role Sunday. The Bills still have five healthy receivers – Graham, Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Chris Hogan and Marcus Easley – on their 53-man roster.
The depth at cornerback is more uncertain.
Brooks’ absence leaves four healthy players at the position — Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers, Nickell Robey and Brandon Burton, who was claimed on waivers from Minnesota last week. Top corner Stephon Gilmore is expected to miss at least a few more weeks because of a fractured wrist.
“We have Burton on our roster; we have to bring him along,” Marrone said. “I like some of the things I’ve seen. He’s long, tall and can play press man. He’s done a good job of that and has done a good job on the scout team. That’s the reason why we’re here.
“We’re not in the business of developing backups. We’re here to develop everyone as starters, so this way when something does happen — which happens in this profession quite a bit — we can just bring somebody up and he’ll go in and play.”
The Bills also have a rookie in Johnny Adams on the practice squad at cornerback. Should they feel they need another player at the position, Marrone made it sound like Adams would be the first option. “I believe if you have players on the practice squad, you bring them up and you go out and find players for your practice squad. If you don’t have those players in the building then you go out and look for them,” Marrone said.
“Different,” is how safety Jairus Byrd described watching his team from the sideline Sunday. “It was a really a weird feeling, actually.
“To be honest, it hurt. It’s not a good feeling to watch a game like that. It’s not cool. The way we lost made it worse.”
Byrd, out with plantar fasciitis in both feet, missed his first game since sports-hernia surgery scratched him from the last two games of his rookie season. He didn’t watch those games from the sideline.
“I don’t like to look at the ‘what ifs.’ It is what it is,” Byrd said, when asked if he would have made a difference in the outcome Sunday. “At the end of the day, we didn’t pull it out. Those guys are more than capable out there to make plays. … I liked what I saw overall from a defensive standpoint.”
Byrd didn’t have an update on whether he could play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. His treatment includes stretches, creams and orthotics.
“I’m just waiting on my feet,” Byrd said. “Whenever they get ready and get right, that’s when I’ll be out there.”
The Bills announced on their official Twitter page that 2,500 tickets remain for Sunday’s game. The game must be sold out by 1 p.m. Thursday to air on local TV.
News Sports Reporter Tim Graham contributed to this report.