This time last week, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins was about four weeks removed from surgery to correct a broken bone in his foot, and during the first week of Organized Team Activities, was spotted on crutches.
Fast forward just one week, the Bills top wideout has dished aside his crutches and graduated to a walking boot, that he hopes to get removed by Thursday -- with the medical staff's permission, of course. That, in essence, is the theme with Watkins' newest ailment.
All we've heard to this point is that the Bills were of the belief that Watkins would be ready by the start of the regular season, without any mention of training camp or the preseason. While the wide receiver admitted that he's hopeful to get back by training camp -- and by saying that, he's admitting there's at least a chance of that happening -- he knows he's in for a summer where he can't push the issue.
"This is an injury where you have to be really careful," Watkins said Wednesday. "The only thing that I can do is listen to the staff and take it slow, and just, really protect myself, and they’re going to protect me also. We’re just going to take the course with the injury. Nobody knows what timetable, what or when I’ll be back."
Bills head coach Rex Ryan met with the media after Watkins updated his injury, and was asked about the possibility a return in the summer in the lead up to the regular season.
"I think all I know is that Sammy won’t miss time in the regular season," Ryan said in a familiar refrain. "But when he comes back during training camp? Nobody has given us a specific time, it’s just that we’re extremely confident that he’ll be ready to roll when the season starts."
The biggest concern over Watkins missing all the offseason workouts and then potentially training camp as well is about getting the timing down with quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The two took some time to get on the same page in 2015, and finally attained that level over the final nine games of the season.
While Rex Ryan admitted that "it's the great unknown," both the head coach and Watkins believed the work that the duo had together late in the season will bridge the gap of Watkins not being available in the spring or summer.