Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- While the return of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel didn't yield the immediate dividends many members of the team and their fan base would have hoped for, the Buffalo Bills first-round pick played without one of his favorite targets.
Rookie wide receiver Robert Woods had to sit out of the team's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with an ankle injury. There wasn't much clarification on the details of the injury ahead of the game, but head coach Doug Marrone provided some insight.
"His ankle is still swollen from the high ankle sprain," the coach revealed. "We need Robert. Robert's been a very good player for us and productive -- a young player."
In the time that the two were both healthy and on the field, Woods pulled in 16 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns from the arm of Manuel in four-and-a-half games. Once the first-round pick went down with an injury Woods was limited to just 10 catches for 84 yards, also in four-and-a-half games of work.
Even though Woods is important to the passing attack when Manuel is on the field, the Bills might be playing another game without their starting wideout.
"We have to make the right decision what's best for the team, whether we sit him this week and then have him healthy for the next five games," Marrone said. "Or, do we play him and take a chance of him not being available if he re-injures that high ankle. So I have not made a decision on that yet. I'm probably more leaning though to sitting him out right now."
Woods may not be the only starting wideout in jeopardy of missing the team's upcoming contest against the New York Jets. Stevie Johnson had to leave the Steelers game in the fourth quarter because of a right groin injury, and his availability for Sunday isn't a guarantee.
The head coach said they will use him on a limited basis on Wednesday, and then re-assess where Johnson is with the injury. Usually optimistic the day after suffering an injury, the wideout wouldn't committ to his groin being well enough to play against the Jets just yet.
Safety Da'Norris Searcy (hamstring) and wide receiver Chris Hogan (concussion-like symptoms) each left the Pittsburgh game prematurely as well, but neither appear to be in jeopardy of missing any time.
The Bills get on the practice field Wednesday in Orchard Park.