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Week 10 video preview: Lions at Bills

The Buffalo Bills meet the Detroit Lions this week in a matchup that could be called the "Loser Bowl" or the "Futility Bowl."

Merriman strain "not major"

Bills coach Chan Gailey said after practice today that linebacker Shawne Merriman suffered a strain in his lower right leg during the early part of the workout.

"Shawn put 10 pounds (of pads) on his body and went out there and had a little strain," Gailey said. "We didn’t want to chance anything, so we’re getting it checked out completely. We’ll see what happens from there. But it wasn’t anything major."

The injury almost certainly rules Merriman out for this Sunday's game against Detroit.

Asked about the disappointment of the injury, Gailey said: "What happens is everyone gets their expectations so high. You’ve gotta realize he hasn’t played a lot of football. He hasn’t had pads on in awhile, all that kinda stuff. You want him out there but he’s not quite ready. We’re not going to put him out there ‘till he’s ready. That’s the No. 1 thing. We’re not gonna put him out there ‘till he’s ready."

Merriman has battled soreness in his Achilles tendon on the right leg this season, and it's believed that was the nature of his problem Wednesday. Merriman also has been hindered by a sore left calf this season.

Meanwhile, Gailey said all the other Bills on the team's injury report are expected to practice on Thursday, except for tackle Cordaro Howard (shoulder). Sitting out Wednesday were: Reggie Corner (ankle), Chris Kelsay (knee), Eric Wood (knee), Lee Evans (ankle) and Demetrius Bell (knee).

---Mark Gaughan

Merriman tweaks leg, exits practice

New Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman had to leave practice today about 15 minutes into the workout after sustaining an injury to his lower right leg.

Merriman was participating in a routine position drill with the linebackers, packpeddaling and pivoting to the left when he took a hop and walked toward the sideline. Merriman walked over to confer with a trainer, and then walked to midfield and talked with Bills head trainer Bud Carpenter. Merriman walked off the field with a slight limp and went into the trainers' office. It was not clear if Merriman had tweaked his Achilles tendon or his calf.

Merriman was claimed off waivers by the Bills last week after being cut by the San Diego Chargers. He had been bothered this summer by a sore right Achilles tendon, which caused him to sit out part of preseason and the Chargers' season opener. It's an ailment that has acted up on and off for several years. He missed most of the Chargers' third game and all of the fourth with a sore left calf. Merriman had a "sleeve" on the left leg during Wednesday's workout.

---Mark Gaughan

Hill likely at QB for Detroit

Detroit starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is out with a shoulder injury, but it looks like No. 2 QB Shaun Hill will be back to start for the Lions in Buffalo Sunday. Hill took the snaps with the first time at Lions practice today, according to Detroit media. Hill has started five games this year, including Detroit's 44-6 win over St. Louis. He threw for 335 yards vs. Philadelphia, 237 at Minnesota and 331 at Green Bay. He's 11-10 as a starter.

---Mark Gaughan

Niagara Falls' Starks activated by Packers

James Starks got the good news he'd been waiting for Tuesday night, as the Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo product was activated from the Green Bay Packers' physically unable to perform list to the active 53-man roster.

Starks has been out since August with a hamstring injury. He was a sixth-round draft pick by the Packers coming out of UB, where he holds the school's all-time record for rushing yards with 3,140 in just three seasons. Starks missed his senior year with the Bulls because of a shoulder injury.

To make room for Starks, Green Bay released linebacker Robert Francois.

Starks joins a Packers' backfield with Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn, neither of whom have distinguished themselves after starter Ryan Grant was lost to a knee injury in the season opener.

---Jay Skurski

Bills sign RB Ganther; release Anderson

The Buffalo Bills signed running back Quinton Ganther to the 53-man roster this afternoon and released RB Andre Anderson.

Ganther, 26, has played for three NFL teams in a five-year career, most recently with the Seattle Seahawks this season. He appeared in three games, making one start, and was released by Seattle on Nov. 2.

Although he's listed in the team's release as a running back, it's likely Ganther will play as a fullback behind Corey McIntrye. His primary role is likely to be on special teams.

Ganther, 5-foot-9 and 220 pounds, has played in 28 career games and made five starts since joining the league in 2006 as a seventh-round draft pick by Tennessee. The Utah product has rushed for 262 yards in his career on 71 carries. He's scored three career touchdowns, all last season with the Washington Redskins when he started four games and rushed 62 times for 201 yards.

Bills coach Chan Gailey downplayed his knowledge of Ganther when he spoke to the media at 4 p.m. The team announced the signing at 5 p.m.

"I hadn't known him or been around him or seen what he's done," Gailey said.

Anderson, 22, appeared in two games for the Bills, playing special teams. He joined the team in April as an undrafted free agent out of Tulane. He was among the team's final cuts in September, but joined the practice squad a few weeks after being released. Anderson was promoted to the 53-man roster on Oct. 6 after the Bills traded Marshawn Lynch to Seattle.

The Bills also released fullback Rodney Ferguson from their practice squad.

---Jay Skurski

Bulletin: Parrish, Davis out for the season

Bills coach Chan Gailey said this afternoon that receiver Roscoe Parrish has a broken wrist and will be placed on injured reserve. Gailey also said linebacker Andra Davis will go on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury.

"Not good," Gailey said of Parrish's injury. "We lost Roscoe for the season. It was major. They're going to have to operate on the wrist.

"You don't just replace guys that have been that productive, but it's an opportunity for somebody else to step up. Donald Jones will jump into the fray and we'll see what he can do."

Losing Parrish is a big blow to the team's offense and special teams. The diminutive receiver had been reborn under Gailey. His 400 receiving yards was already a career high and his 33 catches is just two off the high of 35 he had in the 2007 season. He scored two touchdowns, including one in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Bears at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Parrish suffered a similar injury in 2005, his rookie season. He missed six games at the start of that season.

Parrish was hurt late in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Bears when he landed awkwardly on his right wrist attempting to haul in a pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Gailey also said linebacker Andra Davis, who had been playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder, which he suffered in the season's first game, will go on injured reserve.

"He's not going to be able to make it back this year," the coach said. 

Audio from Gailey is below:

Chan Gailey

---Jay Skurski

Bills Replay Live Chat

Begin comments here.

Bills Live starts at noon

TORONTO -- Good morning from the Delta Chelsea.

I'm getting set to head over the Rogers Centre for today's Bills-Bears matchup. I'll be chatting on Bills Live from noon to at least 6 p.m., so be sure to join me (and News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan).

You can find the chat by visiting this link.

Talk to you in a few hours.

---Jay Skurski

Merriman says he's ready to roll

Newly acquired Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman today declared himself healthy and eager to contribute to the team.

"I feel good, I’m excited," Merriman said in the Bills' fieldhouse to a gathering of media. "I got a chance to spend a lot of time with the guys. I’ve been to a couple meetings already, and I’m kind of jamming the playbook as much as possible. So I feel good."

Merriman was released by the San Diego Chargers this week and claimed by the Bills. He will not play against the Chicago Bears Sunday but said he will be on the sidelines with his new teammates. Merriman had been hindered by Achilles tendon and calf ailments the first month of the season. He said he passed his Bills physical and would be ready to practice this week.

"I’ve been working out doing everything, and I’m just ready to get on the field as soon as possible," he said. "And whenever they feel like I’m ready to be on the field and I fit good in the system and I’ve learned everything, I’ll be ready to go. ... I’ll probably get out here early next week and start practicing. Whatever they need me to do. I’m ready to work and be a piece of the puzzle."

Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks his first three seasons, from 2005 to 2007, and made the Pro Bowl each of those years. He has been injury plagued since. He missed the last 15 games of the 2008 season due to surgery on his left knee. Last year he played through several lower-leg injuries. He played about a third of the Chargers' defensive snaps and had four sacks.

Merriman said he's eager to prove he can regain his old form.

Said Merriman: "Absolutely. Not just that but to come in and be a big part of what we have going on here. They have high expectations of me to come in and make some things happen and I’m gonna do that."

"I always have a chip on my shoulder," Merriman said. "Anybody that knows me and the way I play the game I have a chip on my shoulder regardless."

What does he think about going from perennial power San Diego to doormat Buffalo?

"I think people sometimes forget that I grew up on the East Coast, and the blizzard of ’98 in Maryland, and the couple feet of snow we get there every year," he said. "I’m used to it. Living in San Diego doesn’t mean always you play in San Diego. I’m ready to play no matter where I’m at."

The outgoing Merriman enjoyed the limelight in San Diego and there was a lot written about him being "too Hollywood." Asked if he could be happy in Buffalo, far from the "bright lights," Merriman replied:

"There’s nothing bright about putting on a helmet and playing football. That’s always been something people say because L.A. wasn’t too far from San Diego. Yeah, I have done some TV stuff and I enjoy doing it. But bottom line, I love playing football. Once people try to let that go and not forget that I’m going to put on a helmet and go out and play 110 percent and lay it on the line, it doesn’t matter how bright the lights get."

---Mark Gaughan


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