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Fred out 4-6 weeks

Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson will be out four to six weeks with a broken bone in his left hand, sources tell The News. Jackson suffered the injury in the Bills' preseason opener Friday night against the Washington Redskins.

The injury makes Jackson very questionable for the Bills' season opening game against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 12. Four weeks from the injury would be Sept. 10, two days before the Miami game. Four to six weeks is a standard recovery time for a broken bone. The fact the injury is to his left hand might allow him to return on the optimistic side of the timetable.

Meanwhile, running back Marshawn Lynch is expected to be out three to four weeks with the sprained ankle he suffered against Washington. The injuries put rookie first-round draft choice C.J. Spiller more in the spotlight heading into the season. Spiller was expected to be a featured element of the Bills' offense with or without the injuries. The injuries also give one of the Bills' reserve running backs - Joique Bell and Chad Simpson - even more of a shot to make the 53-man roster entering the season. There was a chance one of those two would have made the 53-man roster even if the top three Bills backs were healthy.

The Bills are off today and return to practice Monday at St. John Fisher College. Monday's evening practice (7 to 9 p.m.) is open to fans who have a ticket.

---Mark Gaughan

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