The Buffalo Bills have waited quite a long time to get first round pick and pass rusher Shaq Lawson on the field, and perhaps, they may have to wait longer to actually get him in a game.
Six weeks have now passed, which makes Lawson eligible to return to the active roster from the Physically Unable to Perform list. And before Monday, the Bills had been saying that he'll be ready to return to the playing field against Miami in Week Seven.
Now that Week Seven is actually here, the Bills walked it back a bit.
#Bills HC Rex Ryan on Shaq Lawson: We'll see if he plays. Hasn't had a day of practice yet. Have to do the smart thing for him.
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) October 17, 2016
Lawson had shoulder surgery shortly after rookie minicamp wrapped up for the team to repair a lingering injury from college, and had been expected to miss the early stages of the season. The first-round pick has been working to the side on a daily basis with the strength and conditioning staff during practice.
The Bills did, however, get some good news on running back LeSean McCoy. Head coach Rex Ryan said that McCoy's knee is "totally fine," after he injured it just moments before halftime on Sunday. McCoy said it could have been much worse than it is.
Regarding tight end Charles Clay and defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, though, the Bills are in a bit of a holding pattern. Clay injured his ankle against the 49ers and wasn't able to return to the game. Dareus, on the other hand, didn't even play -- his second straight missed game due to a hamstring injury.
The Bills are waiting to see how each injury progresses this week, and didn't commit to either player getting practice time at this point.
Joe B's Take
Bills fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of first-round pick Shaq Lawson, and hoping that he pushes the defense over the top after what has already been an extremely productive season. That said, the Bills are taking the smart approach with Lawson.
This is an injury that has been bugging him dating back to his days at Clemson, which makes it a long-term injury in every sense of the word. With how close he is to being all the way back, rushing him into the lineup for the sake of doing so is one that can end up doing more harm than good.
Lawson will have an impact on the season at some point, but he needs to be 100-percent healthy before they put him back on the field. Unless he is, they would be risking him potentially suffering another because he's back too soon (think of Dareus' hamstring), or possibly re-injuring his shoulder.
If they aren't totally convinced, the smart play is to let him sit until they feel he is fully ready for a return. So yes, Rex walked back his enthusiasm a bit, but it's for good reason.
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