By Jay Skurski
Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson missed practice Thursday as he is still back in his home state of California after a death in the family.
Coach Doug Marrone said it's going to be a "tough call" as to whether Johnson will be available to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Complicating matters for Johnson and the Bills is a lower-back injury suffered in Week Five against the Cleveland Browns.
"I'll get ready to call him here in a little bit. You know, see how he's doing," Marrone said. "Obviously he's working on getting treatment out there. I really don't know until he comes back and we're able to talk with him and see how he feels. It's quite a long travel for him, to Oakland and back, so I really don't know."
Since becoming a starter in 2010, Johnson has played in 53 straight games. He is not expected to return to the team in time for Friday's practice because of the distance he has to travel.
"We've been communicating with him with the gameplan and all that stuff. So he has everything, he has all the film," Marrone said. "The one good thing about the iPads now is we have all that available for our players. It's not like out of sight, out of mind, not here."
Johnson has been in contact with receivers coach Ike Hilliard about the gameplan, Marrone said.
"Ike's working with him, making sure he's looking at the stuff, making sure he knows the gameplan, which he does. It's just a matter of physically, can he go, and mentally," the coach said.
taggedDoug Marrone | Stevie Johnson