The injury news came fast for the Buffalo Bills on Monday afternoon. Rookie defensive end Shaq Lawson is expected to miss 5-6 months after shoulder surgery, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins‘ availability for Week 1 is in doubt after surgery for a broken foot.
The Buffalo News was first to report that Watkins was dealing with a broken foot, along with a follow-up that he underwent surgery around a month ago. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported a 6-8 week recovery time for Watkins, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported a Week 1 target date for a return.
Injuries have been a nearly constant issue for Watkins early in his career. Rib and hip issues bothered him during his 2014 rookie season, then he had hip surgery prior to last season with calf and foot issues added to the list during the 2015 campaign.
The Bills are committed to a run-first offensive style, but any possible absence that lingers into the 2016 regular season by Watkins would be huge. He led the team in targets (96), receptions (60), receiving yards (1,047) and touchdowns (nine) last season despite missing three games, and no other Bills pass catcher had more than 552 receiving yards, with only one other topping 50 catches (tight end Charles Clay, 51).
If Watkins did have foot surgery a month ago — and barring some sort of conflicting news there’s no reason to believe he didn’t — a 6-8 week recovery would put him easily in line to be ready for the start of training camp. The Bills would do well to ease him back into action no matter what, and while a slow start to the season is possible, Watkins should be in uniform come Week 1.