The Buffalo Bills plan to use newly acquired Dan Carpenter as their kicker on Sunday, but rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins is not seriously hurt.
Bills coach Doug Marrone said Hopkins’ groin injury, suffered on Sunday, is not major.
It appears the Bills will keep both kickers on the roster for the time being, barring any other injuries.
“I think if it was a high level one I’d be able to say he’s out some time, but it’s not,” Marrone said of Hopkins’ groin strain. “It’s going to be a condition thing. I think if it was a position player I’d be able to tell you a couple days. But because he uses the leg, I think it’s a matter of when he gets out there and start swinging it.”
Carpenter spent the past five seasons with the Miami Dolphins, making the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2009.
He has converted 81.9 percent of his field goals. The Dolphins cut him three weeks ago.
Said Carpenter: “The thought is to come in here and do what I’ve always done. I’m going to work hard, try to get better every day and when it comes down to the game, I’m going to try to kick the ball in the end zone and be 100-percent on field goals. That’s all I can do, all I can worry about it. That’s all I’m concerned about, helping this team win.”
Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Gronkowski, recovering from surgery on his back in June, did not play in any exhibition games. He also had offseason surgery on his forearm.
Gronkowski is not expected to play Sunday.
“The only thing I’m focused on is improving every day,” the Williamsville native said. “And if I’m improving every day and I’m moving in the right direction, then that’s all you can ask for, moving in the right direction at all times.”
He acknowledged his conditioning is not where it would be after a normal offseason.
“Do I feel physically prepared? I mean that’s kind of an obvious answer,” he said. “I couldn’t really do what I usually do all offseason, but that’s what this time is for right now, just progressing and working hard right now to the max of my ability.”
Also limited for the Pats was top receiver Danny Amendola (groin) and backup receiver Aaron Dobson (hamstring).
Safety Jim Leonhard, signed by the Bills on Monday, took part in the full practice Wednesday. Leonard, 30, spent four seasons with Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Leonard started 13 games for Baltimore with Pettine in 2008 and 40 games for the Jets over the next three years. Expect Leonard to appear in at least some of the Bills’ defensive packages Sunday.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Leonhard, cut by the Saints last week. “It’s another opportunity. There’s a lot of energy in this building right now. I can tell that just in this short amount of time I’ve been here.”
“I know the majority of the defense,” Leonhard said. “Obviously going from Rex Ryan’s defense now to Mike Pettine’s defense, he put his own twist on things and changed terminology. It’s kind of re-learning everything. I feel comfortable with it.”
Leonhard has played 10 games against the Patriots since 2005.
“I’ve played the Patriots a lot over the course of my career,” he said. “So it definitely helps that it’s New England this week. I’m familiar with the opponent, and knowing the defense, a lot of the communication is familiar to me.”