Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- Since Jairus Byrd has returned to the Buffalo Bills, the excitement surrounding his potential impact on the field has been curtailed by a case of plantar fasciitis. Byrd went and saw a specialist regarding the condition and has been slowed down at practice leading up to the team's first game.
The franchise tagged safety has only managed to take part in practice on the scout team, but hasn't been ruled out for the Bills' matchup against the New England Patriots.
"I think that he's working extremely hard to get back, really working hard on the game plan," Head Coach Doug Marrone said after Wednesday's practice. "I feel very comfortable with his knowledge and he's out there doing things with us. It's just a matter of, one day I think he's going to wake up and say, 'Hey, you know what I feel great. Let's go.'"
Byrd was classified as a limited participant on the team's injury report. Aaron Williams and Da'Norris Searcy were the starting safeties without Byrd, and in some nickel situations the Bills dropped Searcy down into the box and had the newly signed Jim Leonhard alongside Williams in the backfield.
With the lingering optimism that Byrd might actually suit up on Sunday, the same cannot be said for rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins.
The sixth-round pick injured his right groin during Monday's practice, forcing the team to sign veteran Dan Carpenter. Marrone said Hopkins' injury is not a high-level one, but could not provide a timetable for the rookie's return.
The head coach confirmed that Hopkins will miss the home opener against New England, with the newly signed Carpenter handling the kicking duties. The rookie kicker joins cornerback Stephon Gilmore and offensive lineman Doug Legursky as players that have been ruled out.
The Bills resume practice Thursday morning at 11:30.