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Fred Jackson claims '70 to 75 percent chance to play' Sunday

By Tim Graham

JacksonMugWe don't know where Buffalo Bills doctors stand on the matter, but running back Fred Jackson is optimistic his sprained knee will be healthy enough to play Sunday against the New England Patriots.

"I got a really good shot," Jackson said today at One Bills Drive. "I like my chances."

Jackson ventured to say he has "a 70 to 75 percent chance to play."

Bills coach Chan Gailey shared Jackson's confidence to play in a division game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"From the workout and the rehab this morning, it went extremely well," Gailey said. "It looks like he's going to practice Wednesday, and we'll see how he feels during the course of the week.

"I'm very optimistic."

If Jackson can go, then it would be a fortuitous development for the Bills. C.J. Spiller, Jackson's replacement and the NFL's leader in yards from scrimmage, went down with a shoulder injury Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Gailey said Spiller's injury isn't as bad as originally thought, and while Spiller hasn't been ruled out for the Patriots game, the coach said that was unlikely.

"I always wanted to be back to play against New England," Jackson said. "I always said that. But when you lose a guy like that, it adds to wanting to get back out there to help your team."

Jackson's return this Sunday would mean a speedy recovery from the knee injury he suffered on opening day against the New York Jets. The initial diagnosis was he could return in four weeks with an outside shot at three weeks. Sunday will be three weeks.

"If I think I can get out there and make a play to help my team and I'm not hindering them, then I'll be out there," Jackson said.

Jackson will receive rehab treatment on the knee all week and will try to practice Wednesday as much as he can. He was limited in practice last week.

He also said he would wear a custom-fitted knee brace when he comes back.

"I'm not sure what the trainers are saying," Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. "I'm sure that's between him and them and the coach. But it would be a big boost for us to get him out there.

"Having Fred out there, everybody here knows how much he means to our team in terms of the inspirational leader that he is, really the go-to guy that we look to in key situations. To have him back would be great."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |