- Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins came off of the injured reserve and had his best game of the season in Week 12, catching three passes for 80 yards.
However, going forward, it’s unclear how much Watkins will be able to play, if he can play at all, because the Bills seem unsure if Watkins has a broken foot or not.
Watkins was put on the IR in Week 3 to let lingering pain from offseason foot surgery subside. It was believed that he was healthy enough to return, but according to Nick Veronica of the Buffalo News, Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn referred to Watkins as having a broken bone in his foot several times on Thursday.
Asked if Watkins will play more in Week 13, Lynn said:
“Well, I mean, the guy has a broken bone in his foot. I don’t know if he’s going to play one play or 20 plays. So we’ll just see how big his role is. I’d like to keep him in there the whole time, but I can’t say. He’s tough, he’s very determined to stay on the football field, but he has a broken bone in his foot at the end of the day.”
Lynn was asked if Watkins can finish the season without another procedure and said he’s “not certain,” emphasizing the “not,” according to Veronica.
“I’m not certain. Last I heard, the guy has a broken bone in his foot. I’m just thankful to have him for any time he can give us.”
However, according to Veronica, Watkins says he’s fine.
Last week, Watkins told reporters that he is, “not injured anymore, I want to just say I’m over that and I’m just trying to move forward and play.” After playing in Week 12, Watkins told reporters, “The foot is no issue.”
Watkins sat out of practice this Wednesday and did speak to reporters. He was limited on Thursday, but is expected to play in Week 13 against the Oakland Raiders. Veronica reports that Rex Ryan said Watkins looked good in practice and will play unless there’s a setback.
All of this leads to confusing, conflicting tales. Players should not play with broken bones in their foot, particularly 23-year-old receivers with a long injury history. However, if Watkins is fine, then his offensive coordinator should also be aware that his best receiver’s foot is no longer broken.
As the 6-5 Bills try to make a playoff push, Watkin’s health will remain a focal point in the following weeks.