ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills receiver David Nelson is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right knee.
And the news is a little more encouraging for running back Fred Jackson after tests on his right knee came up inconclusive. Doctors will now wait between seven and 10 days to conduct further tests to determine the severity of Jackson's injury.
Two people familiar with the injuries provided the updates to The Associated Press on Monday, a day after both players were hurt in a season-opening 48-28 loss at the New York Jets. Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not provided any updates.
Nelson was hurt early into the fourth quarter when he went down away from the play. After being helped off the field, he was spotted walking on the injured leg along the sideline.
The third year player had become a favorite target of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick last season, when he finished second on the team with 61 catches for 658 yards and five touchdowns.
Jackson was hurt early in the second quarter when he was cutting across to this right and Jets safety LaRon Landry hit Jackson just above the left knee. Jackson had already planted his right foot, and his right knee bent awkwardly as he was hit.
Jackson was able to walk off on his own and test his leg on the sideline before heading off to the locker room with a towel draped over his head.
Jackson, who signed a two-year contract extension in May, had been looking forward to open this season healthy after missing the final six games of last season with a broken bone in his left leg. The injury ended what had been a solid season by Jackson, who was regarded as the Bills midseason MVP.
Despite missing six games, he still finished with a team-best 934 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
Both injuries are significant blows to the Bills, who entered the season with high expectations of their chances of becoming bona fide contenders.
Jackson was expected to provide Buffalo's running attack a considerable one-two punch along with C.J. Spiller. Spiller responded in Jackson's absence by finishing with a career-best 169 yards rushing, including a 56-yard touchdown. And yet, Buffalo is suddenly thin at the running back position, with Tashard Choice serving as the lone backup.
The Bills do have two fullbacks in Corey McIntyre, whose mostly been used as a blocker, and Dorin Dickerson, who is expected to be used in the passing game.
The depth is no better at receiver as a result of Nelson's injury.
In opening the season with six receivers, including Brad Smith, who doubles as the team's wildcat quarterback, the Bills were already thin and limping at the position to begin with.
Starter Stevie Johnson had four catches for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Jets despite being hampered by a groin injury that has nagged him for much of the offseason. And there are concerns that Johnson will have to continue playing through the pain for the rest of this year.