By Tim Graham
After Fred Jackson saw a replay of himself flopping awkwardly on the Meadowlands turf, he said he felt blessed that his injury wasn't as bad as it looked.
Jackson admitted, though, that part of him feels cursed.
Jackson hosted the show while wearing jeans that covered up a full knee brace. He still was trying to make sense of his luck.
"I hate it," Jackson said. "It's dumb to feel like I do right now because it could have been a lot worse. I'm not happy about it at all, but I'll deal with it."
Jackson was hurt in Sunday's season-opening loss to the New York Jets. He said the best-case scenario that has been delivered to him is a return to action in Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers, but he declared he's shooting for Week 4 against the New England Patriots.
"I want to be back for New England," he said. "That's the one I want to get back for because it's New England, another divisional game. Those mean a lot to us. That's my goal. That's what I'm focusing on."
Jackson, playing his first game since he broke his leg in November, said he heard his right knee pop when Jets safety LaRon Landry delivered a hard and clean tackle in the second quarter. Landry hit Jackson in the left leg, but Jackson's right knee twisted on the way down.
Jackson walked off under his own power. He knew he was hurt badly as he paced the sideline, jogged in place and tried to make some cuts while the medical staff observed. Yet he was done for the day and understood as he walked to the locker room with a towel over his head that he would play for a while.
"It was just tough," Jackson said. "Initially, my knee popped. So I was really worried about that. After laying there for a little bit it didn't feel as bad as I thought.
"But even when I got to the sideline it wasn't quite right. I was just worried about that. But after looking at the initial hit on film and then seeing what I got diagnosed with, I feel extremely blessed."
An MRI confirmed a sprained lateral collateral ligament. The general timeframe for his recovery is four to eight weeks based on what Jackson and the team have indicated.
"I'll keep working," Jackson said. "I'll get back as soon as I can. I don't want it to be the whole four weeks, but they say that's what they're saying the timeline is, and I'll keep working to see if I can get back sooner than that."
Jackson was having an All-Pro campaign last year when he suffered a broken leg in Week 11 and missed the final six games. He told me last week he was focused on carrying the Bills' offense this year and making his first Pro Bowl.
"It's been a lot of work to be able to get back and play this year," Jackson said. "Then to come out and [get hurt] in the first half of the first game is tough. All I can do is keep working and try to get back out there again."
(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)