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Donald Jones upbeat; injury reports

Bills receiver Donald Jones was walking around the locker room without a boot and without much of a limp, which was a good sight for the BIlls. Jones suffered a high-ankle sprain vs. Philadelphia and is due to miss four to six weeks. This is his second week out. The Washington game will give him three weeks off (and two games missed).

Jones says he will be back before the longer-range injury estimate.

"Definitely hopeful it won’t be six weeks," he said. "We don’t think it’ll be six weeks at all. ... I’m definitely a lot better. Things are moving a lot faster than expected. I’m trying to get back as fast as possible but not rush it to where I get hurt again. The bye definitely helps out, gives it some extra time, some extra rehab time. Everybody else is going home but I’ll be up here rehabbing."

Meanwhile, defensive tackle Kyle Williams walked through the locker room in a boot. We'll see what Chan Gailey says about him after practice. 

Left tackle Demetrius Bell was in the locker room. He said he's improving but was non-committal, as he's instructed to be, about the timetable for his return from a shoulder injury.

Said Bell: "It’s a shoulder injury. I’m not able to talk about it. I’m getting better day by day. It’s not a drastic change day by day but it has gotten better, and it’s a whole lot better since Cincinnati. I’m rehabbing every day. I’ll stay here during the break and look forward to coming back."

Does he think he will be out a lot longer? "I definitely don’t think it’s long term. It’s just the process has taken more time than I thought. But I’m getting better."

Bills tackle Chris Hairston is out, too, with a sprained ankle. The Bills might have to play guard Andy Levitre at left tackle vs. Washington if both Bell and Hairston can't go.

---Mark Gaughan

Bruce Smith on Hull

Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith on the death of teammate Kent Hull:

"I know he had some health problems but this is certainly unexpected. You're never can really prepare for losing a family member. He was just a tremendous person, an incredible human being, and you couldn't ask for a better teammate. It's a sad day."

Smith on Hull's leadership: "It's not necessarily what he said it's the way he carried himself and the way he interacted with all of his teammates, not just the star players, but the backups and practice squad players. He treated everyone the same, it's a reason he was so admired and respected."

Smith was emotional and had to pause when talking about what made Hull a good player on the field: "He had this unbelieveable desire to win, to execute, to make those around him better. that was his mindset, that was his body language, his actions every day. It's a sad day."

---Mark Gaughan


Kelly on Hull

A statement from Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly on the death of Kent Hull:

Words fall short when the pain runs so deep. I’m finding it hard to describe what this loss means to me and my family.

Kent Hull was my best friend.

A man of great courage, faith and character.

He will be missed and never forgotten.

My family and I will continue to pray for Kent’s wife Kay and his two children, Drew and Ellen as they grieve the loss of this great man.

---Mark Gaughan

The Bills' center of attention

It became something of a ritual after Buffalo Bills' home games during their memorable run in the early 1990s.

After a Bills' win -- and they usually won -- the media would gather around the big stars of the team. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith would give their description of the day's events.

From there, the reporters would head over to Kent Hull's locker. There they would find out what really happened in the game. Hull was the best analyst on that team.

I covered those teams as a stringer for the Associated Press, which meant I stuck my nose into those media scrums on a regular basis. I always had the impression that Hull wasn't particularly comfortable with the attention from reporters. But he knew it was part of the job, so he did the best he could at it -- and that was more than good enough for everyone, just like it was on the field.

Yes, the Bills' no-huddle offense needed great players at the skill positions, and it had that. But it also needed someone who could call the right signals on the offensive line without much time for thought. Hull obviously did that, and did it brilliantly.

I always had the sense that Hull would be more than content to head home to Mississippi when his career was done and not think much about football again, and that more or less was what he did. He deserved more time to do that. Hull will be missed by all who dealt with him on a professional and personal basis.

--- Budd Bailey

Happy birthday to Ralph

I'm not sure he's awake at this hour, but if he is, Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. has about 20 more minutes to celebrate his 93rd birthday.

Wilson, of course, is the only owner the Bills have ever had. He is, surprisingly enough, not the longest-tenured owner in the NFL. That title goes to Bud Adams, the 88-year-old owner of the Tennessee Titans (formerly Houston Oilers) franchise, by just a few months.

---Jay Skurski

Merriman confident in return after bye, Gailey unsure

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman says he will "absolutely" be able to get back on the field when the Bills return from their bye week.

"We definitely know what we're dealing with," Merriman said today about his injured Achilles, which flared up in practice last Thursday and kept him out of Sunday's loss to the Giants. "It wasn't something that was really unexpected to happen. It just didn't completely get healthy enough in time for the game. I'll be ready after the bye week."

Bills coach Chan Gailey wasn't as quick to confirm that, though. Gailey was asked about the health of both his starting outside linebackers and their availability for the Bills' game with Washington on Oct. 30 (fellow starter Chris Kelsay has missed the past two games with a strained calf).

"I feel better about Kelsay than I do about Merriman right now, but that's because we don't have the full evaluation in on Merriman right now, since it happened so late in the week last week," Gailey said. "Let's give him a couple days rest and see how it feels later this coming week."

Merriman previously had the Achilles injury -- which has given him trouble off and on the past two seasons -- flare up during training camp.

"We knew we were going to have some types of troubles, little speed bumps, going into the season with what I have," he said. "That was laid out on the table a long time ago."

He said the only treatment is rest -- which the Bills will get this week.

"There's really no rehab you can do for it," Merriman said.

The Bills again weren't able to generate much of a pass rush.

"Myself included, we have to get back there in the backfield and help the secondary out," he said. "It hurts to sit back and watch knowing I could have been some help or some benefit out there on the field. I'm always going to want to play ... but I have to do what's in the best interests for all of us [rather] than go out there and something happens and not be around for even longer. That wouldn't be smart."

The full audio of Merriman's interview is below.

Shawne Merriman

---Jay Skurski

Spiller to stay at WR for now

At least for the short term, running back CJ Spiller has a new position on the Buffalo Bills.

Spiller, the Bills’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft, played wide receiver in Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. That’s where he’ll stay for now, according to coach Chan Gailey.

“He did a very good job. I can see that being his role for the short term,” Gailey said.

Spiller caught five passes for 39 yards against the Giants. The Bills are without No. 2 receiver Donald Jones until at least mid November because of a high ankle sprain.

“He’s got good hands. He catches the ball when you throw it to him. He’s tough, because he’s fast and they’ve got to respect his speed,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said of Spiller. “He did some good stuff. He’s going to add some versatility. With Donald out being out, we had to throw him out there and I think he surprised some people with how well he handled it.”

---Jay Skurski

Monday Morning QB chat with Tim Graham

Game ball: Giants 27, Bills 24

Bills-Giants inactives

Kyle Williams is out today for the Bills with a foot injury. Kellen Heard gets the start at nose tackle, which means Torell Troup is still not 100 percent with his back injury. Troup is active, though.

The rest of the Bills' inactives are: outside linebackers Shawne Merriman and Chris Kelsay, left tackle Demetrius Bell and wide receiver Donald Jones (all starters). The others are cornerbacks Aaron Williams (collarbone) and Terrence Wheatley (healthy).

David Nelson starts in place of Jones, Chris Hairston for Bell, Spencer Johnson for Kelsay and Danny Batten for Merriman.

Inactives for the Giants are: OT James Brewer, DE Justin Tuck, CB Prince Amukamara, RB Brandon Jacobs, DT Dwayne Hendricks, G Chris Snee and FB Henry Hynoski.

---Jay Skurski

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